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At his death in 1547, King Henry VIII left four heirs to the English throne: his only son, the nine-year-old Prince Edward; the Lady Mary, the adult daughter of his first wife, Catherine of Aragon; the Lady Elizabeth, the daughter of his second wife, Anne Boleyn, and his young great-niece, the Lady Jane Grey. These are the players in a royal drama that ultimate led to Eliz At his death in 1547, King Henry VIII left four heirs to the English throne: his only son, the nine-year-old Prince Edward; the Lady Mary, the adult daughter of his first wife, Catherine of Aragon; the Lady Elizabeth, the daughter of his second wife, Anne Boleyn, and his young great-niece, the Lady Jane Grey. These are the players in a royal drama that ultimate led to Elizabeth's ascension to the throne--one of the most spectacularly successful reigns in English history.


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At his death in 1547, King Henry VIII left four heirs to the English throne: his only son, the nine-year-old Prince Edward; the Lady Mary, the adult daughter of his first wife, Catherine of Aragon; the Lady Elizabeth, the daughter of his second wife, Anne Boleyn, and his young great-niece, the Lady Jane Grey. These are the players in a royal drama that ultimate led to Eliz At his death in 1547, King Henry VIII left four heirs to the English throne: his only son, the nine-year-old Prince Edward; the Lady Mary, the adult daughter of his first wife, Catherine of Aragon; the Lady Elizabeth, the daughter of his second wife, Anne Boleyn, and his young great-niece, the Lady Jane Grey. These are the players in a royal drama that ultimate led to Elizabeth's ascension to the throne--one of the most spectacularly successful reigns in English history.

30 review for The Children of Henry VIII

  1. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Best place name: Fotheringhay Best adjective: bedecked Best phantom pregnancy: Mary's first Most unwelcome death: Jane Grey's Most welcome deaths: Tie between John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland's and Queen Mary's Biggest asshole of a Pope: Pope Paul III Most unfit parents: Henry Grey and Frances Brandon (Duke & Duchess of Suffolk and Jane Grey's parents) Most scantily mentioned former queen: Anne of Cleves Best hunchback: Mary Grey Best place name: Fotheringhay Best adjective: bedecked Best phantom pregnancy: Mary's first Most unwelcome death: Jane Grey's Most welcome deaths: Tie between John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland's and Queen Mary's Biggest asshole of a Pope: Pope Paul III Most unfit parents: Henry Grey and Frances Brandon (Duke & Duchess of Suffolk and Jane Grey's parents) Most scantily mentioned former queen: Anne of Cleves Best hunchback: Mary Grey

  2. 4 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    On that day a dead dog with clipped ears, a rope around its neck, and its head tonsured like a priest’s was hurled into the Queen’s chamber at Whitehall. This is history at its best, with utterly intense soap opera plots and weird glamorous characters and all of it true. This book picks up where Henry VIII and his collection of calamitous chorines left off and tells the story of the next eleven years. And what eleven years they were. Heads rolled, the stench of burning flesh hung in the air, and On that day a dead dog with clipped ears, a rope around its neck, and its head tonsured like a priest’s was hurled into the Queen’s chamber at Whitehall. This is history at its best, with utterly intense soap opera plots and weird glamorous characters and all of it true. This book picks up where Henry VIII and his collection of calamitous chorines left off and tells the story of the next eleven years. And what eleven years they were. Heads rolled, the stench of burning flesh hung in the air, and there was a coup d’etat, and in the middle of it all, three unfortunate children, one of whom was beheaded. When Henry expired of (it is thought) type II diabetes he’d already laid down what should happen to the crown. It should go to his only son Edward, then if he died without any heirs to his first daughter Mary, then if she died without any heirs to his second daughter Elizabeth. No one paid too much attention to the back-up plan with the girls, since the likelihood of them succeeding was thought remote, but that is exactly what happened. The Tudors were really bad at having kids. There’s a woman at my office who had two sons in quick succession recently. I said “you would have made a great wife for Henry VIII” and she said “No, I would have been dead, they were both C section, and one was breech”. Being pregnant was often a death sentence. Extract from Mary’s will, 1557 : I, Mary Queen of England, thinking myself to be with child in lawful marriage…and being at this present (thanks be unto Almighty God) otherwise in good health, yet foreseeing the great danger which, by God’s ordinance, remains to all women in the travail of children, have thought…to declare my last will and testament. So Edward VI became King aged 9 in 1547. He sounds like a precocious spiteful arrogant brat, God rest his soul. The big shot lords who ran the government were pushing through a religious revolution in his name, and this was the big issue of the day. Henry VIII as we know had told the Pope to go chastise himself, and declared Henry himself to be Supreme Head of the Church of England, but that didn’t mean he was a Protestant – no sir! But Edward’s handlers, they were. Meanwhile, half sister Mary, aged 31, was a hardcore Catholic (she was half Spanish); and half sister Elizabeth, aged 14, was becoming a hardcore Protestant. The salty English soup was coming to the boil. Edward VI started to die when he was around 14 and completed the job aged 15. He probably had tuberculosis. For lurid descriptions of lingering vile fatal illnesses, Alison Weir is hard to beat here. After this teenage death the salty soup boiled over. THE NINE DAY QUEEN The guy running the government at that point was one John Dudley (Duke of Northumberland, Lord High Admiral, blah blah). He went just a little bit completely crazy. He saw his meal ticket subsided into the arms of Lethe, and his mind was racing – if Mary is Queen, I’ll be for the chop. She’ll throw out all the Protestants and bring in Catholics. I’ll lose everything. What can I do to rescue this damnable situation? So he came up with a Plan. 1. Persuade the dying 15 year old King to disinherit both his sisters 2. Persuade him to nominate another child as his successor 3. Persuade the regency council and the entire country to accept this insane plan. Then I can carry on running the country. The hapless girl he fixed on was a 15 year old called Jane Grey, a cousin of the king and a great grand daughter of Henry VII. John Dudley bullied her parents, bullied the council, and bullied her. His line was, it’s either Jane Grey or the Pope, by which he meant, it’s either me or the Pope. For a few days after Edward died it looked like the whole thing might work. Dudley was like a chessplayer on crack – move this here, block this there, swap those off, get that and that round to here… but then his great plan began to unravel just like in my chess games. As soon as they announced the succession of Queen Jane through England people (the nobles and the hoi polloi) started spontaneously drifting to Mary’s residence in Framlingham to declare support for her. Dudley got an army together to go and take Mary prisoner, he realised that would be essential, and he was running around bribing the solders and they were melting away, deserting, shamed by the nastiness of the enterprise. Yes, Mary was a Catholic, but she was Harry’s daughter. Everyone knew that. So Dudley was left with a melting posse, not an army, a loutish gang, and Mary arrested him, not the other way round, and that was the end of that. QUEEN MARY’S TO DO LIST 1. Suppress rivals to the throne by force of arms 2. Imprison Elizabeth in The Tower (we can’t prove anything but just let’s make her sweat a little bit) 3. Behead Jane? 4. Get married to Catholic toy boy 5. Convert the whole country back to Catholicism 6. Give birth to boy 7. Burn heretics by the score Queen Jane Approximately was clapped in the Tower of London with her immediate family and fiancé. Mary was Queen, the nation rejoiced. How quickly their songs of love and celebration turned to tears and gnashing of teeth. As Catherine of Aragon is the agonised heroine of Henry VIII’s reign, so her daughter Mary is the agonised antiheroine of the following ten years. At first Mary was all sweetness and mercy and didn’t want to execute Jane or her family. Until there was another rebellion, also feeble, which also melted away. That convinced her to remove her rivals, so she threw her sister into the Tower, and Jane, aged 16, went to the block. After that, no more Mrs Nice Mary. She got married to a Spanish Catholic prince. She was 38, he was 27. Description of Mary by Ruy Gomez, her husband’s best mate : rather older than we had been told. She is not at all beautiful and is small and flabby rather than fat. She is of white complexion and fair, and has no eyebrows…. [Philip] treats the Queen very kindly and well knows how to pass over the fact that she is no good from the point of view of fleshly sensuality. Anonymous Spanish courtier : What shall the king do with such an old bitch? After the wedding and the honeymoon came the serious business of burning human beings alive, however. Back to work. It turned out that this sweet woman, who pretty much everyone liked personally, who had been sorely mistreated most of her life, called a bastard, rejected and imprisoned by her father and brother, who everyone had such sympathy for, when by a simple twist of fate she broke free from this wretched life and became queen, the first ever English queen to reign in her own name, the thing she really wanted to do was burn people alive if they disagreed with her. HERETICS : BURNINGS PER MONARCH Elizabeth – 5 in 45 years (0.11 per year) Henry VII – 10 in 24 years (0.41 per year) Henry VIII – 81 in 38 years (2.3 per year) Mary – 295 in 4 years (74 per year) ENGLAND UNDER MARY I never saw England weaker in strength, money, men and riches. As much affectionate as you know me to be to my country and countrymen, I assure you I was ashamed of both. Here was nothing but fining, heading, hanging, quartering and burning.. taxing, levying and beggaring, and losing our strongholds abroad. A few priests ruled all, who, with setting up of six foot roods, thought to make all cocksure. Thomas Smith, 1560 IN CONCLUSION My kind of history book, a great story told with meticulous detail. Alison Weir isn’t the most personal writer, she keeps her own counsel, refrains from comment, and I would have liked more of that, but really, I ain’t complaining none, this was hair-raising.

  3. 5 out of 5

    BAM The Bibliomaniac

    There isn't any earth shattering information contained in this tome, no new facts unearthed; but Weir has such mastery of her research that it's always a pleasure to read her works. This is the first time I've read about all four I suppose you could call them junior Tudor monarchs in succinct, consecutive order. I've always been partial to the nine-days queen since I saw the movie starring Helena Bonham-Carter in the '80s. I think she's been shortchanged by history. Here she is given a healthy d There isn't any earth shattering information contained in this tome, no new facts unearthed; but Weir has such mastery of her research that it's always a pleasure to read her works. This is the first time I've read about all four I suppose you could call them junior Tudor monarchs in succinct, consecutive order. I've always been partial to the nine-days queen since I saw the movie starring Helena Bonham-Carter in the '80s. I think she's been shortchanged by history. Here she is given a healthy discourse. Overall a great discussion of these rulers

  4. 5 out of 5

    Orsolya

    Although I wouldn’t say I’m a “Tudor Expert” (okay maybe I would); I do like to think I am well-versed on the topic. I first read Alison Weir’s “The Children of Henry VIII” almost a decade ago before I was as acquainted with the Tudor dynasty. Although both are far different experiences, re-reading this history piece still brought enjoyment (once-again). Immediately in the first sentence of the Preface, Weir states that The Children of Henry VIII “…is not a history of England during the troubles Although I wouldn’t say I’m a “Tudor Expert” (okay maybe I would); I do like to think I am well-versed on the topic. I first read Alison Weir’s “The Children of Henry VIII” almost a decade ago before I was as acquainted with the Tudor dynasty. Although both are far different experiences, re-reading this history piece still brought enjoyment (once-again). Immediately in the first sentence of the Preface, Weir states that The Children of Henry VIII “…is not a history of England during the troubles reigns of Edward VI, Jane Grey [let’s stress for the beginner Tudor reader that Jane was NOT Henry’s daughter], Mary I, and Elizabeth I, but a chronicle of the personal lives of four English sovereigns and the relationships between them…” While this is true that Weir does not dive too deeply into the political landscape of the aforementioned individuals and focuses more on the social and personal aspects of these leaders; the text still doesn’t give the desired look into the psyche of these sovereigns as perhaps expected. Rather then REALLY getting to “know” theses individuals and experiencing their histories, Weir basically just tells their stories. Despite this, Weir keeps a smooth chronological sequence of events and instead of sectioning off chapters for each king/queen; she intertwines events in order to show equal-time incidents in various lives (I.E. While Mary was “fill in the blank”, Elizabeth was doing…). This creates a full picture of the Tudors which is especially insightful to those readers newer to the topic at hand. For those more familiar, The Children of Henry VIII is a terrific refresher course (plus, it has some details which you may have not read elsewhere). As usual with Weir, her research is extensive and annotated while also including quotes and chunks of letters/documents while presenting a text which is well-paced and smooth versus overly scholarly. One of the positives is that Weir did not demonstrate an overly-biased view towards any of the sovereigns, telling their domestic affairs with equal validity. Another optimistic feature were the biographical snippets on other influential figures which provided insight into in the lives of well-known but lesser written about personages. As The Children of Henry VIII progressed, it became increasingly more detailed, and for lack of a better description, more entertaining; while being accompanied by strong sources such as Edward’s diary entries and Elizabeth’s household account books. Even having read this book in the past, I still eagerly turned the pages and was engaged by Weir’s storytelling (although, she was at times repetitive and would reiterate phrases). The majority of the book followed Mary’s reign, helping bring her to life and almost read like a single Mary biography which may deter some readers (but was welcomed by me, as a fan of Mary). Even though I know a great deal about Mary Tudor; there were some details and statistics I was unaware of. It is always riveting to learn something new. The Children of Henry VIII is a rather solid look into the heirs to Henry VIII’s throne and the events which connected them. Although the book could have presented more details on the other sovereigns aside from Mary (Weir ends the book at Elizabeth’s accession to the throne); this glimpse into the Tudor world is engaging and certainly worth reading about.

  5. 4 out of 5

    GoldGato

    Alison Weir always delivers, and it's a pleasure to have one of her books in my greedy-for-more-history hands. Here, she focuses on Mary I, Elizabeth I, and Edward VI, the Tudor Children. She paints the picture of papa Henry and how his lust for power, and women, led him to be father to three different children from three different mothers. There is even a biographical portrait of Lady Jane Grey, the unfortunate girl caught between avaricious parents and power-hungry opponents. Believe me, you wi Alison Weir always delivers, and it's a pleasure to have one of her books in my greedy-for-more-history hands. Here, she focuses on Mary I, Elizabeth I, and Edward VI, the Tudor Children. She paints the picture of papa Henry and how his lust for power, and women, led him to be father to three different children from three different mothers. There is even a biographical portrait of Lady Jane Grey, the unfortunate girl caught between avaricious parents and power-hungry opponents. Believe me, you will not want to put the book down, as you flow from Henry's death through physically weak Edward, then through Bloody Mary's reign, and then to Elizabeth's ascension and the beginning of the global empire for England. It always amazes me that so small an island can have produced such magnificent historical figures. Get your Tudor groove on with this great read. Book Season = Summer (second verse same as the first)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Steven Peterson

    The title of this book is a bit misleading. While Weir does her usual fine job of elucidating characters and their times, calling this "The Children of Henry VIII" is a bit misleading, since Lady Jane Grey's nine day reign is included. Her story as a child until her brief reign is also told. This makes a great deal of sense historically, since she was labeled sovereign by some lords upon the death of Edward VI and before Mary's supporters drove Grey's "handlers" from power. The book does a nice j The title of this book is a bit misleading. While Weir does her usual fine job of elucidating characters and their times, calling this "The Children of Henry VIII" is a bit misleading, since Lady Jane Grey's nine day reign is included. Her story as a child until her brief reign is also told. This makes a great deal of sense historically, since she was labeled sovereign by some lords upon the death of Edward VI and before Mary's supporters drove Grey's "handlers" from power. The book does a nice job of outlining the personalities, experiences, and beliefs of Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth, the children of Henry VIII as well as Lady Jane Grey, also of royal blood. Edward's reign after his father's death was brief, with his death from tuberculosis in his middle teens. Weir outlines his personality and his positions on issues of the day. He never ruled as full sovereign because of his age, but many thought him promising material. He was strongly supportive of a more radical religious stance, moving further from the Catholic Church. The story of efforts by his Council members to manipulate him and compete with one another for influence through him is well told. When his health began deteriorating, with Mary the heir to the throne, some of the nobles realized that they could be in serious trouble, given her know adherence to Catholicism and to her anger at her poor treatment by some of those nobles. Hence, the coup that placed Grey on the throne, even if only for a short while. It was an effort surely doomed to fail. When troops flocked to Mary to support her claim on the throne, the conspirators were defeated. The sad ending of Jane's life is spelled out. Mary did not want her death, but she served as a symbol for those who did not want the return of the Catholic religion. Thus, she was disposed of as an effort to defuse unrest. Far more troublesome, as discussed here, was the prickly relationship between the sisters--Mary and Elizabeth. The latter ended up in the Tower of London for awhile, sometimes sure that she was to experience her mother's fate (Anne Boleyn was her mother). Mary's marriage to Philip of Spain and her inability to produce an heir; her efforts to return England to Catholicism and the ensuing burnings at the stake for heresy (she was later referred to as “Bloody Mary”). And, with her death, the book ends with Elizabeth learning that she was now Queen. This is a standard Alison Weir work, which for me means a well written story, with plenty of details of the main focal characters and the contexts in which they found themselves. There is a nice genealogical table at the end, to see how Jane was related to Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth. Another good product from Weir's pen.

  7. 4 out of 5

    HBalikov

    The Royals of England always seem to get a lot of publicity, more than most others. Queen Victoria's reign, the abdication of Edward VIII, the family of Elizabeth II, Princess Dianna, Princess Margaret, Prince Charles, Wills and Kate. It wasn't that much different in Tudor England As we who have read Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies learned, it wasn't easy to be at Court or a Tudor child. Hopes, plots and fortunes were constantly changing. Weir has a firm grasp of that period and gives us a good The Royals of England always seem to get a lot of publicity, more than most others. Queen Victoria's reign, the abdication of Edward VIII, the family of Elizabeth II, Princess Dianna, Princess Margaret, Prince Charles, Wills and Kate. It wasn't that much different in Tudor England As we who have read Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies learned, it wasn't easy to be at Court or a Tudor child. Hopes, plots and fortunes were constantly changing. Weir has a firm grasp of that period and gives us a good narrative and great deal of detail about each of the four children and how their lives were directed and influenced. It answered some questions and gave me a much better perspective on all the elements influencing decisions at the Tudor Court.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I'm copying this from other posts I made on the Tudor group but thought I'd share here, as well. July 15/09 "I'm really enjoying learning more about Jane in The Children of England, also by AW. Thought I'd share a little for anyone who, like me, doesn't know much about her. The first part of the book takes place directly after the death of Henry VIII and goes into a lot of detail regarding Jane's feelings toward her parents and her preference to learning above all else, as learning was the only t I'm copying this from other posts I made on the Tudor group but thought I'd share here, as well. July 15/09 "I'm really enjoying learning more about Jane in The Children of England, also by AW. Thought I'd share a little for anyone who, like me, doesn't know much about her. The first part of the book takes place directly after the death of Henry VIII and goes into a lot of detail regarding Jane's feelings toward her parents and her preference to learning above all else, as learning was the only thing she could do safely, without fear of punishment. It also speaks of her betrothal to Lord Hertford being broken in favor of her parents' desire for higher position, as well as to fit the Duke of Northumberland's schemes to raise his family's stature by marry his own son, Guilford Dudley (younger brother of Robert) to Jane. AW states that Jane would have preferred to never marry at all but accepted that marriage was a part of her role as an one in line to inherit the throne. She did, however, 'hate the Dudleys' and refused to marry Guilford on the grounds of her previous betrothal. Her parents finally won that argument when they flogged Jane into submission. When reading about Jane, you can't help but feel for the sweet girl who would have preferred to sit with a book than sit on a throne. She was incredibly Protestant and very intelligent. It would have been interesting to see what sort of Queen she would have made or what sort of life she would have lived had she been able to follow through on either of these paths. The second part of the book focuses on Jane and Mary after the death of Edward VI. I'll be reading that in about 10 pages or so. I'll write more when I learn it. I highly recommend reading the book :) July 17, 2009 From what I've just finished reading, Edward's Lord Protector at the time of this death was the Duke of Northumberland, who was Robert Dudley's father. He overthrew Edward's uncle, Lord Somerset (Edward Seymour - Jane Seymour's brother) and took total control of the ruling. Northumberland convinced Edward to change the line of succession set forth in Henry VIII's will to skip over Mary, Elizabeth and Frances Brandon (Henry's niece by his sister Mary), which was illegal and traitorous to defy. However, Northumberland had so much power that the other advisors felt that they could not go against him for fear of their lives. The doctors all deemed that nothing could be done for Edward, who was incredibly sick at the end. He was coughing up blood, he had boils, ulcers and bedsores (to name a few) and could barely get out of bed, write letters or even speak. Northumberland was not yet prepared to let him die. He needed more time to set affairs into order in a way that would benefit him (by getting Jane on the throne, who was married to his youngest son, Guilford Dudley). Northumberland hired what AW calls a female 'quack' - a woman who fed aresenic to Edward, which apparently prolonged his life though to great suffering on Edward's part. When the new line of succession was agreed upon (unwillingly) and sworn to by all advisors in front of Edward himself, Northumberland no longer had a need to keep him alive and got rid of the 'quack', ending the poisoning. Interestingly, this woman was never seen or heard from again and some think that she was murdered. I have no doubt that Northumberland would not be above getting rid of a woman who helped him to poison a King! Anyway, Edward, pre-illness, was really trying to participate and "do" more by way of ruling. He attempted to emmulate his father in all ways. If you look at pictures of him, he even stands like Henry did, feet apart and hands on hips. He wasn't as athletic as Henry but enjoyed watching sport and loves the masques, etc. When his uncle was Lord Protector he did not let Edward take part in many decisions. This led Edward to hate his uncle. Northumberland was smart even to realize that he needed to at least make Edward believe that decisions were his to make but was also smart enough to know how to make Edward's decisions mirror his own. July 22/09 Mary, for all of her good qualities, of which she apparently possessed many, was a brutal queen, relentless in her persecution of the Protestant heretics. She was very much a maternal figure. She acted as mother to Elizabeth at a young age and wanted nothing more than to be a mother and provide a son for Phillip and for England. Obviously, this was not destined to happen. Mary was older when she married Phillip and probably in the beginning stages of menopause. She probably suffered from what is known as a phantom pregnancy; wanting so badly to be pregnant that she convinced herself and her body that she was. The worst part of this section of the book was reading about the burnings. So many men and women died as a result of heresy. During Mary's 'pregnancy', she convinced herself that in order to safely deliver a child, she must first rid England of all the heretics and she increased the persecution at this time. One woman was burned when she was 8 months pregnant. While burning, she delivered the baby. The executioner picked up the baby and threw it back in the fire! I can't imagine what it must have been like to have lived during a time like this, always in fear of your life and the lives of your friends and family.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Erik

    Fresh off her earlier work, Henry VIII, I dove headfirst into this follow-up that recounts the tumultuous period between the great monarch’s death and the ascension of his second daughter, Elizabeth. The title, as many have observed, is a tad misleading as only three out of the four monarchs featured were actually children of the late Henry; the teenage Lady Jane Grey, who reigned for a mere three months after the death of the equally young Edward VI and before being deposed by Mary and her alli Fresh off her earlier work, Henry VIII, I dove headfirst into this follow-up that recounts the tumultuous period between the great monarch’s death and the ascension of his second daughter, Elizabeth. The title, as many have observed, is a tad misleading as only three out of the four monarchs featured were actually children of the late Henry; the teenage Lady Jane Grey, who reigned for a mere three months after the death of the equally young Edward VI and before being deposed by Mary and her allies, being technically his grand-niece. Despite this slight error, The Children of Henry VIII is a work of remarkable scholarship that shed light on a period of Tudor history that is often fast-forwarded over in popular scholarship, if not the popular imagination through the cinematic and television mediums. One interesting theory that Weir plays with is in regards to Elizabeth’s refusal to marry, which has long been a juicy gossip and rumor-mill by both professional and lay historians alike. "…with the executions of Anne Boleyn, Katherine Howard and Thomas Seymour in mind, she had come to equate marriage with death. This did not affect her desire to flirt and court male interest, but it prevented her from ever making the final commitment in any emotional relationship." Of course, it is just as likely that Elizabeth’s aversion to marriage stemmed from the very real fear that if she married a Continental monarch, she would be putting the control of her realm and her English subjects under potential foreign dominion in the event of her death. Combine that with the unsuitability of marrying any of her supposed lovers – Robert Dudley and Walter Raleigh, to name but a few – and it is easy to imagine just how hard it was being in her position. Then again, there are those who speculate that she was barren, or even that she chose to proclaim her status as a Virgin Queen in order to appease and persuade Catholics to her accept her Protestant reign. Whatever the reason(s), Elizabeth’s reign is the more remarkable for ushering in the Golden Age. Before Elizabeth, Mary was the second woman to reign from the English throne. (The first being the Empress Matilda, who reigned during a turbulent time in the twelfth century.) And for this very reason, many were wary of a woman holding the reigns of power – which was best expressed by Mary of Hungary when she remarked to Emperor Charles V, “A woman is never feared or respected as a man is, whatever the rank. In time of war it is entirely impossible for a woman to govern satisfactorily. All she can do is should responsibility for mistakes committed by others.” Of course, Elizabeth’s long and remarkable reign proved them completely wrong on all counts. Sandwiched between the reigns of the commanding personalities and the politically and socially astute minds of Henry VIII and his second daughter, Elizabeth, the short-lived reigns of Edward VI, Jane, and Mary are often overlooked as a result of their political naïveté and lack of genuine leadership skills – the first two being mere pawns of more powerful forces in the end. But it is precisely because of these short-comings of these ill-fated monarchs that reading about them becomes absolutely absorbing and fascinating.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ghost of the Library

    Now this was fun!...yes yes one can absolutely enjoy oneself while reading about Henry VII, Bloody Mary and that fascinating family! Alison Weir may not be a traditional scholar of the Tudors, but whatever she lacks in "official credentials" she amply makes up for it with seriously good research and, most important of all, a clear approachable style of writing that serves as a brilliant introduction to the Tudor universe and, for those more familiar with it, perhaps a pause from the seriousness o Now this was fun!...yes yes one can absolutely enjoy oneself while reading about Henry VII, Bloody Mary and that fascinating family! Alison Weir may not be a traditional scholar of the Tudors, but whatever she lacks in "official credentials" she amply makes up for it with seriously good research and, most important of all, a clear approachable style of writing that serves as a brilliant introduction to the Tudor universe and, for those more familiar with it, perhaps a pause from the seriousness of more traditional biographies? This one is another example of such success - while, to the best of my knowledge, respecting known historical facts, Weir uses an ample selection of sources from the times to tell the story of the convoluted years between King Henry´s death and the crowning of Queen Elizabeth I. Starting with the rise to power of the way too young and very easily played King Edward, Weir perfectly depicts the conflicts that immediately arose within the closest circle of men and the power games that led ultimately to the rise of Jane Grey and her 9 day reign. From there we follow, always at a very steady rhythm the rising of towns and people throughout England that lead to Mary defeating the armies fighting for Queen Jane and her own rise to the throne as was always her father´s intention. Mary, her reign, the conflicts she faced - her own and those of a society just about ready to fully embrace the new religion and upon whom Mary wanted to impose the old ways of Rome are also dealt with here, and you get a clear picture of how good a ruler she could have been if fate AND HER FAITH hadn't dominated her in such a strong way. For those interested in Mary specifically i would recommend after this one - The first Queen of England by Linda Porter - it does a great job of deconstructing the myth and showing the woman behind the "Bloody Mary". Then of course, just about anyone who has read a book or watched the movies knows this - then Mary sadly dies and Elizabeth is crowned Queen of England. About her and her long reign much as been written so i wont go into details here, after all like i have said this isn't a full biography on any of these characters - its more of a general portrait of what happened with each and every one in the years between Henry and his daughter Elizabeth. My one pet peeve and the reason why i don´t give it a 5 - maybe its silly to you but it confused me somewhat the absence of footnotes, for me personally they make the reading flow better because i don´t have to stop and go double check some piece of information...tiny detail that doesn´t take the enjoyment out of it, but still...you are warned! :) Like i said, not a scholarly in depth biography but still, a great starting point to introduce characters, times and events in a very easy, engaging and approachable way. If you love this one, go ahead and research...The Tudors make any of today´s royal families look like the Brady Bunch...honest! Happy Readings!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Elena

    Children of England (also known as The Children of Henry VIII) covers the years between 1547 and 1558 and explores the problems of succession after Henry VIII's death, following the troubled lives of his children Edward, Mary and Elizabeth and of his granddaughter Jane Grey. This is a very comprehensive book. I liked how Weir did not present the children only by their actions, but also spent some time talking about their appearances, their personalities and their educations. It was extremely int Children of England (also known as The Children of Henry VIII) covers the years between 1547 and 1558 and explores the problems of succession after Henry VIII's death, following the troubled lives of his children Edward, Mary and Elizabeth and of his granddaughter Jane Grey. This is a very comprehensive book. I liked how Weir did not present the children only by their actions, but also spent some time talking about their appearances, their personalities and their educations. It was extremely interesting and made me more real to me. While I can't say I learned many new facts, it is definitely true that Weir's research is in-depth and precise. Plus, Weir's style is always extremely readable and easy to follow. The book truly reads like a novel in some points, and I did not find many dry parts. If you want to learn more about Henry VIII's heirs this book will serve you just fine.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sharla

    This is an account of the events that happened after the death of Henry VIII up to the ascension of Elizabeth I to the throne. It is the story of how his heirs; his son Edward, his daughters Mary and Elizabeth and his grandniece Jane Grey engaged in a power struggle. This is not a biography of either of them but a look at a pivotal point in English history. I gained a good deal of insight into the events of that time period and how they all fit together.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    A fascinating book that deals with each of his children in turn. This book was very good in tackling subjects which usually get dealt with as a chapter in a book on the individuals. As someone who finds the period fascinating, it was academic enough not to be boring if you know a fair amount about the main characters, but not daunting if you dont. Alison Weir puts the chronology together well, and examines the four characters relationship with each other, how those relationships were manipulated A fascinating book that deals with each of his children in turn. This book was very good in tackling subjects which usually get dealt with as a chapter in a book on the individuals. As someone who finds the period fascinating, it was academic enough not to be boring if you know a fair amount about the main characters, but not daunting if you dont. Alison Weir puts the chronology together well, and examines the four characters relationship with each other, how those relationships were manipulated or affected by those into whose care they were entrusted, and their motivations in the actions they took. She also takes a great deal of care in the detail - for example in trying to make a modern diagnosis of the ailments suffered by the characters, and in particular those suffered by Mary in her desire to bear an heir to the throne. Thoroughly recommended.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    Reread for a paper on the Tudor period in my British Literature class. I have to admit I enjoy this author's books. While there are multiple books out there on the subject, I did find a few things that while familiar to me since I had read the book before, I do not remember reading about them in other books. I am a huge fan of books about the Tudor dynasty and these biographies got me started many years ago in wanting to know more, and eventually leading me to become a history major. Are there n Reread for a paper on the Tudor period in my British Literature class. I have to admit I enjoy this author's books. While there are multiple books out there on the subject, I did find a few things that while familiar to me since I had read the book before, I do not remember reading about them in other books. I am a huge fan of books about the Tudor dynasty and these biographies got me started many years ago in wanting to know more, and eventually leading me to become a history major. Are there newer books on the subject, yes. Have there been new discoveries about the time period and the people in it, definitely. They are still very enjoyable books even though there may be a few things slightly "wrong" due to new information coming to light. Re-read for Hooked on Challenges June Challenge Royalty. British Royalty.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I recommend reading this book after Alison Weir's "the Six Wives of Henry VIII" as this picks up right where that left off. At his death in 1547, King Henry VIII left four heirs to the English throne: his only son, the nine-year-old Prince Edward; the Lady Mary, the adult daughter of his first wife, Katherine of Aragon; the Lady Elizabeth, the daughter of his second wife, Anne Boleyn, and his young great-niece, the Lady Jane Grey. Weir examines the relationship between Edward and Mary, Edward an I recommend reading this book after Alison Weir's "the Six Wives of Henry VIII" as this picks up right where that left off. At his death in 1547, King Henry VIII left four heirs to the English throne: his only son, the nine-year-old Prince Edward; the Lady Mary, the adult daughter of his first wife, Katherine of Aragon; the Lady Elizabeth, the daughter of his second wife, Anne Boleyn, and his young great-niece, the Lady Jane Grey. Weir examines the relationship between Edward and Mary, Edward and Elizabeth, and Mary and Elizabeth. The reigns of Edward and Mary are covered in good detail: Edward the Protestant, and Mary the Catholic who became known as "Bloody Mary."

  16. 5 out of 5

    Trisha

    this reads too much like a text book from school and not really my type of enjoyable reading.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sam Wescott

    It's been a long time since I've read a non-fiction history book (I don't read a lot of non-fiction, but when I do I always end up in, like, dinosaur/evolutionary science or cults and social psychology), but I really enjoyed this. I went through a long historical fiction phase in high school and spent a lot of time reading about the Tudor family, including this author's fictional account of Lady Jane Grey. Something was always very attractive about the way she and other authors have been able to It's been a long time since I've read a non-fiction history book (I don't read a lot of non-fiction, but when I do I always end up in, like, dinosaur/evolutionary science or cults and social psychology), but I really enjoyed this. I went through a long historical fiction phase in high school and spent a lot of time reading about the Tudor family, including this author's fictional account of Lady Jane Grey. Something was always very attractive about the way she and other authors have been able to retell historical stories with such a degree of humanity. I find myself returning to this small portion of English history because the overall story is familiar and makes it easier to fall into a more individual understand and empathy of the players. In this book, the author takes a very specific focus on the heirs of Henry VIII and tells the history of their lives as well as their relationships to each other, to religion, to politics, and to marriage in a way that nicely balances history detachment and personal storytelling. I thought it was interesting and it really made me nostalgic for all those bodice-rippers I loved back in high school. I will say, though, English history would be so much easier to learn about if there were more than, like, four English names. It can be so tricky to keep everyone straight.

  18. 4 out of 5

    erica

    The Children of Henry VIII details the period from Henry's death in 1547 until his younger daughter and last surviving child, Elizabeth I, ascends to the throne in 1558. A lot happens in those 11 years: the short reign of Edward VI, the even shorter, tragic reign of Jane Grey, and the slightly longer, but still tragic reign of Mary I. I have read a lot about the Tudors, but what makes this book special is its focus on the relationships and interactions between Henry VIII's children--especially t The Children of Henry VIII details the period from Henry's death in 1547 until his younger daughter and last surviving child, Elizabeth I, ascends to the throne in 1558. A lot happens in those 11 years: the short reign of Edward VI, the even shorter, tragic reign of Jane Grey, and the slightly longer, but still tragic reign of Mary I. I have read a lot about the Tudors, but what makes this book special is its focus on the relationships and interactions between Henry VIII's children--especially the dynamic between staunchly Catholic Mary, the first queen of England, and her younger sister Elizabeth. This book fits very nicely between Weir's masterpiece, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, and her third history of the Tudors, The Life of Elizabeth I, which I will be reading next. Weir is a masterful historian. As much as I hate this phrase, she really brings the last Tudors to life. Edward, Jane, Mary, and Elizabeth are not antiquated, unrelatable characters, but can easily be imagined as very real passionate or zealous people. I cannot wait to read more of Weir's histories.

  19. 4 out of 5

    CF

    One of Alison Weir's most popular books does not disappoint. Its material flies off the pages and makes you really think about what happened between Henry VIII's death and Elizabeth I's succession. I thought that I would already know a lot of what was in this book, having read a multitude of other books on this period, but I was very, very wrong. Firstly is Edward VI's succession. A man hailed as 'the next King Solomon' - as such a young boy when he came to the throne (9 years old) he was manipu One of Alison Weir's most popular books does not disappoint. Its material flies off the pages and makes you really think about what happened between Henry VIII's death and Elizabeth I's succession. I thought that I would already know a lot of what was in this book, having read a multitude of other books on this period, but I was very, very wrong. Firstly is Edward VI's succession. A man hailed as 'the next King Solomon' - as such a young boy when he came to the throne (9 years old) he was manipulated and pushed by his advisors to agree to everything they ever wanted. Consequently, he rarely made any of his own decisions. But he pushed England to such a fervour of Protestantism, he was prepared to write his own sister out of the succession. Putting Lady Jane Grey in her place. Jane Grey, also manipulated and incredibly ill-treated by her parents, was forced to take the crown, but she was not forced to die. After Mary took the throne, she did not want to kill her cousin, and gave her many chances to take up the Catholic faith, but Jane was a fierce protestant, and, you could say she had a hand in signing her own death warrant. She wanted martyrdom, or at least she would not be persuaded to follow Catholocism. Queen Mary's reign started with happiness and support from her people, but such misery and horrific atrocities were performed during her reign, (300 people burned at the stake within 4 years) that when she died, the English people were glad to see the back of her. Marrying King Philip of Spain was a desperate decision for a 38 year old woman who had never allowed herself any pleasures of the flesh. She was a sad and melancholy woman, trying to convert England back to Catholocism for her own selfish pleasure. Thinking God would punish her if she did not. After Mary's death, there is a small part on Queen Elizabeth I, as the next book in the series is 'Elizabeth the Queen' - which I have already read, and is also fantastic. Weir is brilliant. I really cannot fault this book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Redfox5

    I think people shy away from reading History books is that they remember the boring text books they were given at school, where they would point out the primary and secondary sources over and over again. Zzzzzzzzzzz. What people need to be reading are History books that read like fiction. Alison Weir is an author that achieves this. And so far, everything I've read by her, I've been impressed with. This is the story of the four heirs to the Tudor throne. Edward VI, Mary, Elizabeth and Jane Grey I think people shy away from reading History books is that they remember the boring text books they were given at school, where they would point out the primary and secondary sources over and over again. Zzzzzzzzzzz. What people need to be reading are History books that read like fiction. Alison Weir is an author that achieves this. And so far, everything I've read by her, I've been impressed with. This is the story of the four heirs to the Tudor throne. Edward VI, Mary, Elizabeth and Jane Grey. We don't often see much written about Edward or even Mary for that matter. Elizabeth, Henry VIII & his sixth wifes fill more books about the Tudors than anything else. I actually think Edward would have made a fine King had he lived, although he was just as extreme about Protestants as Mary was about the Catholics so who knows if he would have started burning people as well in the end? Reading History in hindsight, it's very easy to start to ponder the 'what ifs?'. We get much greater details about Mary's reign here and I was extremely interested in her marriage with Philip. I had no idea that Charles V had gone to such pains to make sure that Philip didn't anger the English people and suggested ways for him to fit in, not that it worked, as everyone hated him anyways. There were some niggles I had about the book, I have just recently read Weirs 'The Lady Elizabeth' and lots of what was covered in the fictionalised version, can be seen here. I would recommend leaving some time between them if you plan to read them both. I also originally thought this book would be about all of the Children Henry VIII produced rather than just his heirs, but none of his bastards were mentioned (Not counting Mary & Elizabeth). I really want to know more about them as I've not really come across much information about them. Although this was my fault for not reading the blurb correctly. Overall an insightful and interesting look into the Heirs of Henry VIII.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Leeanna

    The Children of Henry VIII, by Alison Weir "The Children of Henry VIII" is a nonfiction history that reads like a narrative. One interesting, engrossing, detail-filled narrative. The book follows the ascent of Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey, Mary I, and Elizabeth I to the English throne. Also covered are the men around the throne, such as John Dudley, Thomas Cranmer, Edward Courtenay, Philip II, etc. The basic story is known by many, especially fans of the Tudor period. Weir's book is perfect for lover The Children of Henry VIII, by Alison Weir "The Children of Henry VIII" is a nonfiction history that reads like a narrative. One interesting, engrossing, detail-filled narrative. The book follows the ascent of Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey, Mary I, and Elizabeth I to the English throne. Also covered are the men around the throne, such as John Dudley, Thomas Cranmer, Edward Courtenay, Philip II, etc. The basic story is known by many, especially fans of the Tudor period. Weir's book is perfect for lovers of historical fiction, because this history is so easily readable, yet also very educational. The author clearly did her research, and includes abundant source material in the text, including quotes from letters and privy purse accounts; and also tells the reader the importance of the historical material. I found myself reading late into the night. I was a little sad when I finished this book; I greatly liked living in the world Weir recreated, an England awash in political and religious machinations. An uncertain world, to be sure. And while I knew the outcome, who would succeed who, I wasn't sure of the exact route each monarch took. For example, my view of Edward and Mary changed quite a bit after reading Weir's book; I used to think Edward was a sickly boy, and Mary heartless, but I learned that wasn't necessarily true. Definitely recommended for anyone interested in the Tudor dynasty. 4/5.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I absolutely adored this book...and not just because I'm wild and crazy about the Tudors. Let's be honest, people. Long before Dynasty, Dallas, Falcon's Landing, Another World, and even Passions, there were the Tudors, and they were wonderful! My only regret regarding the reading of this book is that Sundance Channel played 1998's Elizabeth directly I was through, and of course, all I saw during the first screening was all of the historical inaccuracies committed for sake of cinematic appeal. I absolutely adored this book...and not just because I'm wild and crazy about the Tudors. Let's be honest, people. Long before Dynasty, Dallas, Falcon's Landing, Another World, and even Passions, there were the Tudors, and they were wonderful! My only regret regarding the reading of this book is that Sundance Channel played 1998's Elizabeth directly I was through, and of course, all I saw during the first screening was all of the historical inaccuracies committed for sake of cinematic appeal. Before I knew it "Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm, look at that Joseph Feinnes," became "Kat Ashley was not the same age as her charge; wtf is Emily Mortimer doing there?" ... Yet is not that the most primal function of literature in general, and historical record in particular: not merely to educate, but to make us think? Irritating on the part of the studio, yes, but if irritation is the pound of flesh owed for a well-functioning, healthy intellect, well...My apologies to Joseph Fiennes (it is a crying shame) but then of course, we'll always have Shakespeare in Love . Le sigh.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    To reiterate my review of Weir's "The Six Wives of Henry VIII," I can't believe I read this book all the way through, which says something about Weir's writing skills. Obviously, it helps to be interested in the subject matter, but it really expanded my knowledge on the children of Henry VIII. Of course Elizabeth I's reign would be its own book, but I was expecting Weir to touch on her reign a little bit more. Maybe one chapter - which I know would be hard, but Weir is such a great writer, I kno To reiterate my review of Weir's "The Six Wives of Henry VIII," I can't believe I read this book all the way through, which says something about Weir's writing skills. Obviously, it helps to be interested in the subject matter, but it really expanded my knowledge on the children of Henry VIII. Of course Elizabeth I's reign would be its own book, but I was expecting Weir to touch on her reign a little bit more. Maybe one chapter - which I know would be hard, but Weir is such a great writer, I know she could do it. It would be interesting to see a side-by-side comparison of Mary vs. Elizabeth's reign, if only very briefly. Overall, I enjoyed the book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lushbug

    Loved Alison Weirs 'The six wifes of Henry VIII' and this is picks up where that one ended...i.e death of a tyrant!! The books focuses less on politics and more on the private lives of Henrys descendents and helps us understand more fully how they all interacted with each other why they became the rulers they did. If you ever wanted to understand Bloody Mary better or Elizabeth I this is the perfect starting point. It does tend to focus more on MAry than Liz but then Wier has written a book about Loved Alison Weirs 'The six wifes of Henry VIII' and this is picks up where that one ended...i.e death of a tyrant!! The books focuses less on politics and more on the private lives of Henrys descendents and helps us understand more fully how they all interacted with each other why they became the rulers they did. If you ever wanted to understand Bloody Mary better or Elizabeth I this is the perfect starting point. It does tend to focus more on MAry than Liz but then Wier has written a book about Elizabeths long reign so in fact this book ends as Elizabeth learns she is Queen.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Summer

    For all his worry about heirs, he spawned three drastically different Monarchs, one a puppet, one infamous for religious fanaticism and murder and one celebrated as the greatest Monarch in English history. I knew of their adult lives, but reading this really put the pieces together for me and I saw how their childhoods dictated their future actions. I thought it was a fascinating peek inside, so to speak.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rebes

    I looooooooooooove this book and can barely put it down. I will be reading all of Alison Weir's other books once I finish this one!

  27. 5 out of 5

    G. Lawrence

    Great book, told with Weir's magnificent skill.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kiesha ~ 1Cheekylass

    I love this book. Now, Elizabeth, we want Elizabeth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Claudia

    It's in a book like this one that Alison Weir shows her ability as a historical researcher specializing in the Tudor Age. Admittedly, Lady Jane Grey was not one of Henry VIII's children but his niece's daughter yet she was Edward VI's heir as the King felt she would continue the reformation of the Church of England. There is a tremendous amount of information, especially in regards to the different devotion of Edward, Mary, Elizabeth and Jane Grey to their various religions: Anglican, Protestant It's in a book like this one that Alison Weir shows her ability as a historical researcher specializing in the Tudor Age. Admittedly, Lady Jane Grey was not one of Henry VIII's children but his niece's daughter yet she was Edward VI's heir as the King felt she would continue the reformation of the Church of England. There is a tremendous amount of information, especially in regards to the different devotion of Edward, Mary, Elizabeth and Jane Grey to their various religions: Anglican, Protestant, and Roman Catholic, which seems to be a major focus of these four royal reigns. Along with all the intrigue, plotting and maneuvering for power and position, it's no wonder that the the nobility and royalty wondered if on the next day they would be arrested for treason and/or conspiracy. Cause there was a lot of conspiring going on. Especially as various nobles wanted to be the hand that guided the crown. There seems to be a great deal of information regarding the actual actions of Edward VI, far beyond that of a fragile and health-compromised teenager. He was dedicated to his father's Protestant reforms. He could almost be called severe and sadistic - no hesitation signing death warrants, even that of his uncle. If Weir's description of Jane's early life and her parents' brutal actions were true (and I seriously doubt that Weir would include them if she didn't have sources to back them up), it's a wonder that she was able to remain firm before the commission into her treason against Mary. And then there was Mary. A woman that had undergone numerous travails and changes in status and situation but she stayed devoted to her Roman Catholic religion no matter the threat from the King - her father or her brother. She is almost sympathetic in her near-desperate relationship with Philip of Spain, who basically abandoned her to fight on the Continent and demanding various concessions before he would return to England. Her fervor regarding the execution of heretics bordered on fanaticism. She burned hundreds in the four years she was on the throne which Weir does compare to the other rulers - Henry VIII burned 81 over 38 years and Elizabeth burned only 5 in 45 years. In turn, Elizabeth was only spared death herself due to Philip's intervention between her and his wife's spite and malice. Admittedly, it seems like a bit of a cheat that the book is supposedly about Henry VIII's children and it stops as Elizabeth comes to the throne. And the sheer magnitude of the people involved in court, in the Council, royalty of nearby countries as well as their ambassadors, major servants and attendants, leaders in uprisings, as well as others just make keeping track of who said what and was loyal to which confusing. Especially as they changed their fealty as the crown moved to another head. But even with all the information - and I just touched on some very broad aspects - it's informative. It's interesting. And it'll give you insight not only into these royals but into the time period when noble blood can lead you to a throne or to an executioner's ax. 2019-151

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Beth

    This novel picks up largely where Weir's The Six Wives of Henry VIII leaves off and covers the years 1547 through 1558. It covers the brief reigns of King Henry's son Edward, his daughter Mary and his great-niece Jane Grey and ends with his daughter Elizabeth assuming the throne to embark on her 45 year reign. As always, Weir does an excellent job of covering her subject matter in an in-depth yet relatively succinct matter, and the evidence of her deep historical research shows. Her writing make This novel picks up largely where Weir's The Six Wives of Henry VIII leaves off and covers the years 1547 through 1558. It covers the brief reigns of King Henry's son Edward, his daughter Mary and his great-niece Jane Grey and ends with his daughter Elizabeth assuming the throne to embark on her 45 year reign. As always, Weir does an excellent job of covering her subject matter in an in-depth yet relatively succinct matter, and the evidence of her deep historical research shows. Her writing makes it possible for the cruel woman that history remembers as 'Bloody Mary' to be seen in an empathetic light; her grief, shame, and bitter disappointment over her apparent phantom pregnancy is poignantly summed up by Weir by saying, "Mary's desperation is revealed in the tear blots in her prayer book on the page entitled 'A Prayer for a Woman with Child'" (313). Weir also incorporates interesting tidbits from her research such as this little nugget of trivia about Suffolk, who was beheaded at Mary's command: "His head fell into sawdust that had become impregnated with tannin, which preserved the head perfectly for 400 years. It was shown as an object of curiosity until the Second World War, but after that it was buried in St Boltolph's Church, Aldgate, London" (250). Although the preface asserts that this book begins where Weir's earlier book left off, it did backtrack some, as the novel details the early life and childhoods of Mary, Elizabeth, and Edward, and spends significant time detailing the scandal between Elizabeth and Thomas Seymour while Elizabeth was under the care of her stepmother, Catherine Parr, a scandal that was also detailed in her earlier work. However, this slight overlap gave context and background for readers who had not read the earlier work and provided insight behind the prudence Elizabeth continually displayed after this event. Additionally, the title of this work is a bit misleading, as this historical biography also covers the sad, short life of Jane Grey, the nine-day queen, who was not a child but a great-niece of Henry VIII, and at his death became the fourth in line to the throne. In reality, it's more accurate to call this book an account of the rather tumultuous period between Henry VIII's death and Queen Elizabeth I's rise to the throne rather than strictly a look at Henry's children. Although Elizabeth had a long reign and lived to a great age, I was somewhat disappointed that this text give little information about her reign or the remainder of her life after 1558, since the complete lives of her siblings are detailed in this book. However, on the whole, this is an excellent joint biography of the heirs to the throne after Henry VIII.

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