Documentary series featuring dramatic reconstruction in which Lucy Worsley delves into the personal lives of Henry VIII's wives, beginning with Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn.
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The story of Henry VIII and his six wives
is one of the best-known in history.
There's Catherine of Aragon, the bitter, abandoned first wife.
Anne Boleyn, the original "other woman".
Jane Seymour - bit of a doormat.
Then we've got Anne of Cleves, she was the ugly one.
Catherine Howard, the one who slept around.
And Catherine Parr, the saintly nurse.
But I'm going to tell you a very different story.
I'm going to take you back in time,
and into the private lives of Henry's six wives.
I'm going to see the story
from THEIR point of view,
and I'll watch as events unfold.
-'..and not defy the Church in this way!'
The fate of my soul is no longer your concern!
It will ALWAYS be my concern.
These events all really happened,
and were recorded in historical documents,
or reported by eyewitnesses.
I asked for his head.
Not his coat.
They reveal six complex women who lived in a dangerous age
as they struggled to survive being married to Henry VIII.
You are still prepared to question me?
Six wives, whose names were tarnished
by Henry's propaganda machine.
Six queens, whose stories I want to re-examine.
Is she here?
I'll observe their life at court.
I'll watch them romanced
by a charismatic king...
-Tell me you're the same.
..who craves the company of women.
The King is a very...sociable man.
I'll show you how they fall from favour.
I am your loyal wife, my lord!
Leave, or I shall have you dragged from here.
I have here a warrant for the arrest of Queen Catherine.
I'll see how their reputations are destroyed...
I beg of you to tell the King that my heart is filled with sorrow.
And assure him of my repentance.
..and lives cut short at the hands of a ruthless, brutal man.
Six children born!
Five of them dead!
This is the ultimate true story
of love, loss and betrayal.
Remember what happened to my last wife and queen?
It's the 18th of January, 1510.
Catherine of Aragon has been married to Henry VIII for seven months.
# Da-da! #
Excellently played, Maria.
Luck, my lady, nothing more.
DOOR RATTLES >
Who is it?
SHE GASPS, HE CHUCKLES
HE LAUGHS, SHE CHUCKLES
My darling lady.
-We frightened you?
-Half to death!
We thought you ladies far too clever to be fooled.
What does the King think of my new robe?
Beautiful. Every inch of you.
HE CLEARS HIS THROAT
-What does the Queen think of the King's costume?
-Quite the rogue!
such a pity you have to leave us.
Henry VIII is a loving husband
to his Spanish queen, Catherine of Aragon.
Those two truly believe that theirs is a match made in Heaven.
A few hours and I miss you with all my heart.
I feel delirious.
What's wrong with me?
Perhaps you're coming down with a fever.
-Tell me you're the same.
Henry has been King of England for nine months
and Catherine is already pregnant.
We don't think of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon
ever being in love.
Catherine was his first wife,
and as the rhyme tells us,
the one he divorced.
The bitter ending of her marriage
has come to define her as an angry woman, obsessed with religion,
but I'm going to show you a different Catherine.
In reality, she was a steadfast and popular queen.
And for most of the 24 years of her marriage,
she really was rather good at handling
an increasingly difficult man.
In an age of arranged marriages,
that between Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon was unusual
because it was a love match.
He could have had his pick of all the ladies of the Court,
and he later said, that of all the ladies in the world,
he would, again, have chosen her.
She was a bit older than him.
When they married she was 23,
and he was about to turn 18.
But they did have quite a lot in common.
They were both the children of dynasties
that had recently come to power through conflict,
and they were both ambitious.
They wanted to create a bigger role for themselves,
and for England on the European stage.
Ambition was something Catherine had had instilled in her
from a very early age.
This is the extraordinary Alhambra Palace in Grenada.
This is the closest thing that Catherine had to a home.
It was just one of many palaces of her parents,
Queen Isabel of Castile
and King Ferdinand of Aragon.
The Alhambra was Catherine's favourite,
and, by far, the grandest palace in the whole of Spain
with its beautiful gardens.
But it was also a fortress that witnessed battles,
sieges and slaughter.
Catherine's parents were fearsome rulers.
They'd forged alliances, and united kingdoms.
Her mother, Isabel, was known as the "Warrior Queen".
And Isabel had big ambitions for Catherine. At the age of three,
she was promised in marriage to the heir of the throne of England -
we're not talking about Henry here, but his older brother, Arthur.
To Catherine's parents, this was a great opportunity -
a new dynastic alliance.
But to Catherine herself,
it meant that she'd have to go and live in a very different country,
almost a different world.
And once she'd left Spain,
she'd never see her parents again.
Aged just 15, Catherine landed on the shores of England,
there to marry Prince Arthur.
He was the same age.
But their marriage would be tragically short-lived.
After just a few months, Arthur sickened and died.
It must have been devastating for Catherine,
who was now a teenage widow.
Her father then tried to marry her off
to the new heir to the English throne,
Arthur's younger brother, Henry.
The Spanish and English kings spent seven years
trying to agree on the marriage contract.
Eventually, Henry's father called the marriage off.
But behind the King's back,
the young prince had grown rather fond of his Spanish princess.
And when the old king died,
the first thing the new king, Henry VIII, did
was to marry Catherine of Aragon.
So, Catherine and Henry were the ultimate thrusting power couple.
But top of the agenda for their marriage
was the continuation of the dynasty.
It was now her job to have children
and she did manage to get pregnant pretty easily.
It was only a few months later that the problems began.
Catherine's nearly five months pregnant
but it looks like she's had a miscarriage.
Has the King been told?
Not yet, my lady.
Then he must know.
Somebody fetch him.
What is it?
I'm confident, Your Highness,
-the situation is not as we had feared.
You are still with child.
-I have taken the utmost care,
a thorough examination has been made, and the evidence is there.
My womb is empty.
I've seen the evidence myself.
-How do you dismiss that?
-I do not, Your Highness.
My explanation is thus.
A twin pregnancy.
One child lost,
the other child continuing to grow.
Your belly is still full.
Then I must take your word.
The Queen will require meticulous care during her confinement.
This is a miracle from Christ, is it not?
The weight of expectation that Catherine is under
to produce an heir to the throne is absolutely crushing.
Can you feel it?
I think so.
On the physician's word,
relief and excitement flood through the royal household...
..and preparations for Catherine's confinement can proceed.
She will spend the last month before the birth locked away
with her personal servants, including her ladies-in-waiting.
The Tudors believe that disease travels through the air,
so the floors, doors and windows of her chambers are sealed
to prevent her or the baby from getting ill.
The groaning chair is prepared.
The mother sits in this to groan her way through labour,
and to give birth with the aid of gravity.
And, finally, the bed is blessed.
The day has come. My queen must go.
-Only as far as my bedchamber.
-Which might as well be in Spain...
Gentlemen, I trust you'll look after the King in my absence.
I'll be in good hands.
But none as fair or kind as these.
-My heart aches at the thought of weeks without you.
But what prize at the end?
Pray for me.
I'll pray for you both.
Catherine enters confinement in spring 1510.
Ahead now lies the ordeal of childbirth.
It's terrifying, because of the distinct possibility
that you might die.
Husbands often have portraits painted of their wives
while they're pregnant, so that a baby will have something
to remember its mother by if she doesn't make it.
I would prefer to undress alone.
But there's something Catherine fears more than death.
And that's failing in her royal duty.
With just weeks to go before the birth,
should she trust her doctor
who believes there's a surviving twin still inside her?
Or should she trust her instincts?
All she can do is wait and pray
that God will deliver the Tudor dynasty a son.
You've loaded them, surely?
KNOCK AT DOOR
-What is it?
-The Queen, my lord.
What's the matter with her?
The matter is not with the Queen herself...
..but with the baby.
It's been born?
I'm afraid she has suffered a loss of the child.
The physician has just left the Queen's chamber,
he confirms as much.
Please leave us.
What was it,
male or female?
I do not know.
You do not know?
How can that be so?
I came in haste.
'The Queen asks if you will pay a visit to her chamber.'
She is bereft, my lord.
Maud, a stillbirth?
There was no child.
Catherine's bump has simply disappeared.
It looks like the doctor's got it spectacularly wrong.
Not a second baby,
but an infection.
The infection must have made Catherine's belly swell up.
And I believe she was so desperate to have a child
that she convinced herself that she was still pregnant.
It was humiliating.
All of that time spent in confinement,
all of that ceremony, and absolutely nothing to show for it.
Rumours started to circulate
that Catherine was unable to conceive.
And people at Court began to think that she was,
maybe, unsuitable as a queen.
And what about Henry?
He must have been disappointed too.
After all, he had the future of the dynasty to consider.
We sometimes forget,
but he was only the second Tudor king after his father, Henry VII.
The dynasty was young, it was still insecure.
And then, there was the security, the peace of the country.
If Henry were to die without an agreed heir,
there could be civil war -
exactly what his father had managed to stop.
So, it's difficult to underestimate the pressure
that Catherine must have felt, literally, to deliver.
Fortunately for her,
her luck was about to change.
A few months later, she did conceive again,
and, this time, it was a real pregnancy.
It was also a smooth pregnancy.
On New Year's Day, 1511,
Catherine gave birth.
It was a boy,
and he was christened Henry.
It looked like God was happy at last with Henry VIII,
with the Tudor dynasty,
with the whole kingdom of England.
London went wild with celebrations,
there were bonfires and fireworks,
and, here at Westminster, there was a joust.
The grandest jousting tournament of Henry VIII's reign
was now held in honour of Catherine delivering him a son.
The event was recorded on a spectacular 60-foot-long manuscript.
For the last 500 years,
it's been looked after by the College of Arms in London.
Its custodian is the York Herald, Peter O'Donoghue.
So, Peter, this is the actual moment of jousting.
What's going on here? It looks very exciting.
This is Henry on his horse,
and he has struck his opponent on the head, and broken his lance.
It's the most prestigious blow in jousting -
to break your lance on your opponent's head.
You can't really tell that he's the King, can you?
-Because he's in disguise.
-Yeah, that's right.
There is this disguising, this playful element to it.
He's fighting under an assumed name.
You can make out what that name is with the heart,
that's a "Coeur Loyal".
-He's called "Sir Loyal Heart"?
-That's it, exactly.
So, tell me a bit about the ladies.
The most important lady here, of course, is the Queen.
So, here's Catherine of Aragon, watching.
And here we have this motif of Ks everywhere.
'By calling himself Sir Loyal Heart,
'Henry was declaring his love for Catherine.
'She'd done everything right. She'd given him a son.
'This really was the high point of their marriage.'
And this is the King on the way home again afterwards?
That's right. "Desarmey" - "disarmed", on the way home.
He's out of his armour,
in his golden robe which is very spectacular.
And what I really like is the way you can see his piercing blue gaze
and he's training it straight on the beautiful queen.
He is looking right at the woman he loves.
Oh! Look at this, all the other ladies are looking at her
and they're going, "Oh, isn't your husband gorgeous?"
You know, you see him here
painted in this, sort of, wonderful work of art.
He's just had his son, so the dynasty is established.
The whole kingdom waited with bated breath
to see what the outcome of that pregnancy would be.
If you've got a son and heir, everyone can relax.
And he is the hero of the day.
He's young, he's incredibly rich,
he's incredibly glamorous and handsome...
And a beautiful wife as well.
What could possibly go wrong(?) PETER LAUGHS
There were endless celebrations for the royal birth.
But they were all in vain.
At just seven weeks old, Prince Henry sickened and died.
Three barges draped with black cloth
brought a baby's body down the river from Richmond to Westminster
where he was buried in the Abbey.
For Henry, he could hardly bear to talk about it.
One ambassador going in for a meeting with the King
was advised not to mention it,
lest it "revive his grief".
And we're told that Catherine made much lamentation.
She was inconsolable.
She'd now lost two babies.
Catherine is struggling to give the King an heir.
But in pretty much every other respect,
she's still his perfect queen.
It's two years later,
Henry is away fighting the French.
This is an on-off war that'll go on throughout his reign.
And in his absence, he's made Catherine regent.
She is running the country.
Now, this is quite uncommon.
For me, it's evidence that not only does he still love her,
but also, that he respects her judgment.
With Henry away, the Scottish king, James IV,
has seized an opportunity to invade England.
But he hasn't calculated on the Spanish warrior queen,
Catherine of Aragon.
She's deployed an army of 26,000 Englishmen
and is awaiting news from the battlefield.
..the Scot is dead.
And what proof is this?
The Earl of Surrey thought it more...palatable
to send his clothing.
He was killed on the battlefield in Northumbria yesterday,
along with scores of his men.
The Queen can be assured that this is his blood.
That may be so.
But where is the body?
I asked for his head.
Not his coat.
-The body's in London.
-Then have it brought to me.
As you wish, Your Highness.
This shall be sent to King Henry.
A reputed 10,000 Scots lie dead on the battlefield -
the invasion defeated.
Catherine's popularity as queen soars,
and the dead king's coat is dispatched to Henry in France.
She'd wanted to send something even better,
as she wrote to Henry...
"I thought to send himself unto you."
By which she means she'd wanted to send
the actual corpse of the dead king.
"But our Englishmen's hearts would not suffer it."
By which, she means her wimpy English servants
had thought that this was a bit too much.
Later on in the letter, she says something rather intriguing.
That she is off to see "Our Lady at Walsingham".
Walsingham in Norfolk
is the site of a religious shrine.
Since the Middle Ages,
it's been associated with fertility and childbirth.
It was a hugely popular place in Tudor times.
Catherine came here in 1513
to pray and give thanks.
She had lots to give thanks for.
There was that victory over the Scots, and, even more significantly,
she was, once again, pregnant.
And Catherine believed that she was in need of God's protection.
This was her third pregnancy in four years of marriage
and she still had no children.
Catherine of Aragon was now 27 years old,
in Tudor terms, that's middle-aged.
Royal women were giving birth at 16, even 15.
In fact, Henry VIII's own grandmother
gave birth to his dad when she was just 13.
So, Catherine was definitely an older mum.
She must have felt like time was running out.
But Catherine's prayers weren't answered.
For the third time, she'd lose the baby.
Tragically, it had been a boy.
Catherine's success as queen was now being overshadowed
by her failure to deliver a healthy son.
She was starting to test the King's patience.
As Catherine struggled to bring babies to term,
her husband's fancy started to wander.
There was nothing astonishing about this.
Whenever the Queen was expecting, her health came first - no sex -
but nobody expected Henry to go without.
He looked through his wife's ladies-in-waiting,
women of good family
chosen as the Queen's companions.
And he picked out Bessie Blount.
They started a relationship.
Bessie got pregnant, she even gave birth to a son,
the only downside was that he was illegitimate.
But Henry was proud of him, recognised him,
and gave him the name Henry Fitzroy,
meaning "son of the king".
But Bessie Blount's son
can never be the legitimate heir to the throne of England
and the King respects his queen enough
to send Bessie away from Court.
This must have been awful for Catherine,
her husband's mistress giving him a boy, where she'd failed.
But then, after five pregnancies,
four stillbirths, one infant death,
and six years of marriage,
God smiled on Catherine.
She gave birth to a healthy baby who lived.
The only problem was,
it was a girl.
The Princess Mary is now six years old.
Since her daughter was born,
Catherine has tried and tried to give Henry the son
that he desperately craves.
But now, her age is against her.
She's 37 years old.
It looks increasingly likely
that Mary will be her only surviving child.
Henry is putting on a pageant.
Catherine's ladies-in-waiting are playing Virtues.
Such as Perseverance,
And they await rescue by knights.
But the Queen is a spectator.
She hasn't been invited to take part.
A more apt description I couldn't imagine.
Although...Beauty would be equally fitting.
Beauty belongs to the King's sister, my lord.
Henry's new love interest is one of two sisters
who've recently arrived at Court as ladies-in-waiting to Catherine.
They're the daughters of a landowner and diplomat, Thomas Boleyn.
This is the beginning of a series of events
that will ultimately destroy the royal marriage.
But this isn't Anne Boleyn.
Catherine's husband is kissing Anne's older sister, Mary.
Mary Boleyn grew up here, at Hever Castle in Kent,
along with her brother, George, and her sister, Anne.
Mary and Anne were close in age,
but they were very different girls.
Of the two sisters, everybody thought
that Mary was the more attractive.
She had fair hair, and she was super vivacious.
Anne had dark hair and olive-coloured skin.
It's definitely fair to say that Tudor gentlemen preferred blondes.
Mary was married
to one of Henry's best friends.
But this didn't stop him from pursuing her.
After all, he was the king,
he could have whoever he wanted.
We don't know an awful lot about Henry VIII's affair
with Mary Boleyn, but there is a clue.
A series of mysterious payments
from the Crown to her husband, William Carey.
The theory is that that was hush money.
Henry's affair with Mary was explosive, but it was short-lived.
He got bored.
And in any case, his eye had moved on
to Mary's sister, Anne.
It was probably in 1525
that Henry first really noticed Anne Boleyn.
At this point, she was actually betrothed
to somebody else - Henry Percy - and they were probably in love.
But when Henry got to hear about it,
he had his advisers break the couple up.
Anne was probably pretty annoyed about this,
but she had to go along with it.
Now that the King's eye had fallen upon her,
I think that Anne looked at the way Henry had treated Bessie Blount
and her own sister, Mary,
and decided that she wasn't going to be
just another mistress like them.
And, in fact, Anne wasn't like anybody else at all.
Compared to her fellow ladies-in-waiting, she was exotic.
She'd been schooled in the refined world of the French court.
This is Chateau Amboise in the heart of the Loire Valley.
Unusually for an English courtier, the teenage Anne
had spent seven years in the royal household of Queen Claude,
the young wife of King Francis I.
Court life in France was different from court life in England.
It was more...sophisticated.
It was sexier,
and some of this rubbed off on Anne.
At the French court,
Anne learnt how to sing, how to dance.
Obviously, how to speak French perfectly.
And she learnt about fashion that was much more seductive
and revealing than the English equivalent.
But, most importantly, she learnt a new way of behaving,
flirtatiously and confidently with men.
She picked up this trick
of using her eyes.
It was said that she could... "send them forth as messengers
"to carry the secret witness of the heart".
Anne became indistinguishable, people thought,
from a native-born French lady.
And Anne's European sophistication
enchanted the cultured English king.
What really put the seal on Anne's attractiveness was her intelligence.
She was sharp and curious,
and interested in matters of the mind.
So, Anne didn't just flirt with Henry,
she also argued with him
on everything from politics to religion
and he loved it.
It's New Year's Eve, 1527, and the King is receiving gifts.
He's been pursuing Anne Boleyn for well over a year,
but, so far, she's resisted all of his advances.
-From Queen Catherine.
-And where might the Queen be?
-She's in her chamber,
resting before the celebrations later this evening.
Sent from Anne Boleyn, with her kindest regards, Your Majesty.
Is she here?
This is exquisite.
Tell me of it.
The diamond is the North Star,
the ship's protector, guiding her home.
And the maiden?
Well, despite the rough seas,
she trusts in God that all will be well.
The lady is right to have faith.
The storm shall pass.
If she has patience enough.
Or the will to see it through.
I will treasure it.
Please offer my sincere thanks to the bearers of these gifts.
Their generosity is greatly appreciated.
I feel some air is called for before the celebrations commence.
A walk in the grounds, perhaps?
Anne, would you care to join me?
With pleasure, Your Grace.
-I trust it is your will to walk with me?
-Indeed, it's my pleasure.
I'm far happier on the safety of dry land.
It is such an important moment.
For the first time, Anne's shown that she IS interested in Henry,
and she's done it in public too.
Now, Catherine has seen mistresses come and mistresses go.
But this time it's different.
Anne is a real threat.
The best insight that we can get into Henry's growing feelings
for Anne Boleyn comes in the form of 17 love letters,
from him to her.
It's extraordinary that they still survive.
They're here in Rome,
in the Vatican Library.
And, amazingly, I'm the first person who's been allowed in to film them.
The letters were almost certainly stolen from Anne Boleyn,
perhaps by a supporter of Queen Catherine.
The Vatican paid a handsome sum of money
to get hold of them in the 17th century.
My guide to the Vatican Archives is Emalia Delascio.
She's the only one allowed to touch the letters.
Emalia, are these really the letters of Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn?
-Yes, they are.
-Nearly 500 years old.
I open for you.
This one is the first page.
"Letters of Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn."
This is Henry's own handwriting?
These are all in French,
the language of love, the language of chivalry.
"I'm sending you, by this messenger, my picture set into a bracelet."
-It's a gift, a beautiful gift.
And this is... Oh!
This one's very romantic.
It's like a knight writing to his lady,
"Henceforth my heart shall be dedicated to you alone.
"And hoping that my body will follow."
This is getting steamy.
He must have really been in love,
because we know that Henry hated to write letters.
-He found it difficult.
He was slow.
But here he is, gushing away.
And here is...
This is wonderful. This is like a little Valentine.
-He chooses no other than Anne Boleyn. AB in the heart.
And then HR. They're embracing.
AB for Anne Boleyn.
Oh, and now, it's changed to English.
"Wishing myself, especially of an evening..."
"..in my sweetheart's arms.
"Written in the hand of him that was, is,
"and shall be yours by his will.
In his desire for Anne,
Henry was promising himself to her.
This last letter was nothing short of a marriage proposal.
What's extraordinary about these letters
is that Henry is making a promise he couldn't possibly keep.
He was already married.
They also reveal that Henry and Anne hadn't had sex yet.
Anne was doing what nobody had done before.
She was refusing the King.
Historians have sometimes interpreted this
as tricksy, girlie behaviour on Anne's part.
But I prefer to think that she had a bold strategy, here.
Anne is impressive to us
because she often acts like a modern person,
like somebody with ambitions who knew where she was going.
And I prefer to think that Anne made Henry wait
because she wanted to be Queen of England.
But there already was a hugely popular queen
who was alive and well, and believed it was God's will
that SHE remained Queen of England.
This is St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle,
one of the royal residences.
Catherine worshipped here with Henry.
God was at the heart of their marriage
and Catherine had strived to make a success of it,
and God had given her a daughter, Mary.
Henry wanted a son, though.
And after 18 years of marriage to Catherine,
he now wanted to marry Anne Boleyn.
This meant getting rid of Catherine.
You might wonder why he didn't just get a divorce.
But it wasn't that simple,
because England was still a Catholic country.
Marriage was the vital glue that stuck society together.
Only the Church could sanctify marriage,
and ending marriage was also the Church's preserve.
It was possible to get divorced as a 16th-century person,
but it was difficult, and the problem was
that you could not then marry anybody else,
because marriage was for life.
What Henry needed was an annulment of his marriage to Catherine,
as if it had never existed.
But an annulment was granted only in the rarest of circumstances,
and only by the head of the Catholic Church, the Pope.
In the summer of 1527,
Henry ordered a group of his most trusted advisers
to look into the possibility of getting him an annulment.
They'd have to put together the best possible case to the Pope.
The whole business became known as "the King's great matter".
To try to get the Vatican's agreement,
Henry started to build his case.
There was no mention of Anne Boleyn.
Instead, he would use his wife's previous marriage
to his dead brother, Arthur, against her.
Henry discovered this passage in the Bible -
it's Leviticus 20:21.
"If a man shall take his brother's wife, it is an unclean thing.
"He has uncovered his brother's nakedness."
And this is the key bit. "They shall be childless."
Henry used this to argue that his marriage had been invalid.
It was a kind of incest.
And this was the reason he probably still didn't have a son.
But Catherine had got wind of the "great matter"
and was steeling herself to take on the King.
Because, despite their difficulties,
and his dalliances,
Catherine is determined to oppose Henry -
to stay married and to remain Queen of England.
-What is it?
-My conscience troubles me greatly.
-I need to speak with you.
-You need to absolve yourself of something?
I wish to find a way forward.
Be still, please.
Speak to me.
For some time now, there's been a vast distance between us.
And what do you believe the cause to be?
-As far as I understand it, there is only one.
It's a complicated matter.
We cannot continue to ignore it.
Following much consideration, the conclusion is this.
I wish for us to live apart.
No longer as king and queen.
We cannot be separated.
We knelt before Christ and took vows. That can't be undone.
It's possible. I've taken advice on the matter.
..look me in the eyes and tell me our marriage
-has not been a happy one.
-We must be honest with ourselves.
It's been cursed from the start.
In the eyes of the Church, you are my sister!
Then the Church is blind!
My marriage to Arthur was never binding,
because we did not lie together.
You are my one, true husband!
Grant me the respect I deserve, and please don't dismiss me.
-I would never dismiss you.
-No, but you're prepared to cast me aside
in order to marry another woman.
You wish to talk about honesty?
I'm not a fool.
Speak the plain truth,
and do not use our Church for your own gains.
Catherine, why do you choose to make this harder than it need be?
You think this should be easy?
Six children born!
Five of them dead!
A life lived in loyal and unswerving devotion. All for nothing?
Did you really imagine I might bid you farewell
with a smile on my face? What did you expect from me?
For your king's wishes.
What about respect for your queen and daughter?!
You'll want for nothing.
How can you say that?
I want you.
Catherine, I beg...
keep your dignity.
Christ forgive you.
Catherine believed her marriage to Henry
was a union preordained by God.
Yet, she also knew that Henry got what Henry wanted.
But even with his cunning plan,
his cherry-picked biblical arguments,
it will be harder to end his marriage
than Henry could ever have imagined.
The Pope may have been head of the Church,
but he wasn't the most powerful man in Europe.
That man was the leader of the Holy Roman Empire,
Charles V, who was busy conquering Europe.
In 1527, Charles invaded Rome.
The Pope was holed up here in the Castel Sant'Angelo.
Now, obviously, this was highly inconvenient for the Pope,
but it was a diplomatic nightmare for Henry.
Because Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor,
who now had the Pope in his power,
was Catherine of Aragon's nephew.
This was the perfect opportunity
for Catherine to use her family connections
and to build a few alliances of her own.
First off, she wrote to her nephew, Emperor Charles V,
asking for his support.
And she got it.
Then, she challenged Henry's argument
that their marriage had been invalid under Church law.
That's the whole "don't marry your dead brother's wife" thing.
Catherine said that when she'd married Prince Arthur,
they'd never had sex.
The marriage was unconsummated, therefore, invalid -
therefore, Henry's case was invalid.
And what about the Pope? What did he say?
Well, he just kept stalling.
He didn't say one thing or the other.
It looked like Catherine had won the battle.
But Henry hadn't given up hope of winning the war.
For three years, Catherine had successfully blocked
Henry's attempts to end their marriage.
In May 1528, Henry tries a different tactic.
Provocatively, Anne's been moved
into her own apartments inside the Palace of Greenwich.
It's becoming clear that there are three people in this marriage.
It's getting pretty crowded.
It's as if there are two queens under one roof.
There's Anne who has Henry's heart and his hopes,
and Catherine, his faithful wife,
who thinks that she has the ultimate power,
the power of the Church, on her side.
Henry was still claiming that, in the eyes of God,
Catherine was technically his sister, not his wife.
On the 21st June, 1529,
after two years of deadlock,
he launched what he hoped would be a fatal blow to Catherine.
He convened a special public court to hear his case
and he invited senior clerics from England and Rome.
It took place, here, in Blackfriars, London.
Anne Boleyn had been sent off to the countryside
to get her out of the way, because Henry needed to convince everybody
that his reason for wanting to end his marriage
was nothing to do with her at all.
Catherine knew otherwise,
and the Queen insisted on giving evidence in person, in open court.
Henry expects the clerics to grant him his annulment.
But Catherine's about to take a huge gamble,
and publicly put her case to the Pope's representative,
and to the King himself.
I appeal to your conscience
to show me the compassion and justice I deserve
as your one, true wife.
To honour the years I have dedicated to you and you alone.
The loyalty I have shown,
and above all else,
the love I have...
..which will never die.
For the love of God,
in your heart, you must know there is no other
in whom you can pledge your trust with such confidence.
Our long history has proved that to you, surely?
I have been a true,
humble and obedient wife.
I came to you as a true maid.
Untouched by man.
And whether it is true or not,
I put it to your conscience
that if there is any just cause by law that you can put against me
of either dishonesty,
or any other impediment,
then I am content to depart to my shame and dishonour.
But if there is none...
..then I beg of you,
let me remain in this estate.
I implore you...to consider your actions today.
But also to know that, regardless of the decision you make,
I remain your devoted servant.
And you remain
my one, true husband.
To God, I commit my cause.
-Catherine, Queen of England, return to this court!
The Pope's emissary went back to Rome
without granting an annulment to the marriage.
People sometimes forget what a setback this was for Henry.
He'd achieved absolutely nothing
apart from being publicly humiliated by his wife.
And I think that this was Catherine's defining moment.
She used her passion,
and her intelligence to defend her marriage.
She'd won the fight to hold on to her crown.
At least for now.
Am I too late?
Please tell me I am not too late?
Catherine of Aragon will be cruelly punished for challenging the King,
and sent into exile to die.
Henry will defy the Church to marry Anne Boleyn.
The entire kingdom harbours hatred towards me.
But it won't be long before his eyes, again, begin to wander...
Surely I deserve your respect, my lord?
..and Anne is not a woman to turn a blind eye.
I'm going to show you a driven, highly intelligent queen,
who thought that she could take on the King of England...
What I mean to say is this,
that if something were to happen to the King, you'd look to marry me.
..but who miscalculated with dreadful consequences.
All this for so little a neck.
Documentary series featuring dramatic reconstruction in which Lucy Worsley revisits key events in the lives of Henry VIII's six wives, revealing how each attempted to exert influence on the king and the Tudor court. Lucy delves into records of private moments and personal feelings in the women's lives that ended up shaping the course of history.
This episode follows the emotional and physical struggles of Katherine of Aragon as she strove to give Henry the male heir he so desired. As Henry's eye wandered over the women at court, Anne Boleyn, not wishing to be cast aside as her sister Mary had been, repeatedly rejected the king's advances and insisted on marriage.
Henry set about trying to arrange an annulment, but Katherine was defiant and passionately defended her position.