Mary I of England (1553-1558): Bloody Mary

Mary I survived a difficult childhood—separated from her mother, rejected by her father and suffered poor health—to restore Catholicism to England and produce an heir. Mary was born in 1516 at Greenwich Palace, the only surviving child of Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Henry was initially disappointed but he proudly showed off his…

Lady Jane Grey (1553): The Nine Days Queen

Lady Jane Grey is best known as history as the Nine Days Queen. She survived an unhappy childhood only to become a pawn in a conspiracy to usurp the throne. Jane was born in 1537 at her family’s estate, Bradgate Manor, in Leicestershire. She was the eldest of three sisters born to Henry Grey, Marquess…

Edward VI (1547-1553): The Boy King

Nine-year-old Edward VI introduced the Reformation, established the English Church, understood international affairs and showed a keen interest in reforming the currency. Henry VIII’s lengthy wait for a male heir ended when Edward was finally born on 12 October 1537 at Hampton Court Palace. However, Henry’s joy was short-lived as his third wife, Jane Seymour,…

The Rough Wooing: Uniting Scotland and England under Tudor rule

Henry VIII negotiated a marriage treaty for his son Edward and Mary Queen of Scots. He pursued an aggressive policy when the Scots rejected the treaty’s terms. The English defeated the Scots at Solway Moss on 24 November 1542 and took 1,200 captive. James V died three weeks later, leaving his week old daughter Mary…

Catherine Parr: Henry VIII’s Sixth Wife

Catherine Parr was a loyal and sympathetic companion who nursed an increasingly irritable Henry VIII in his declining years by creating a domestic family life at court. Henry’s sixth wife was born in 1512, the eldest daughter of Sir Thomas Parr and Maud Green of Kendal. Catherine was married twice before and recently widowed. Catherine…

Anne of Cleves: Henry VIII’s Fourth Wife

Henry VIII married Anne of Cleves to form a new alliance after relations between England, France and the Holy Roman Empire deteriorated. They divorced six months later. Anne was born on 22 September 1515 in Düsseldorf, Cleves. She was the second of four children born to John III ‘the Pacific’, Duke of Cleves, and Maria…

Jane Seymour: Henry VIII’s Third Queen

Henry VIII declared Jane Seymour was the most beloved of all his wives—she provided the desired heir. Jane’s quiet dignity hid a strong will and determination to succeed. Her father, Sir John Seymour, was knighted at the Battle of Blackheath in 1497 by Henry VII. He enjoyed royal favour during the next reign. Her mother,…