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Books About Henry VIII

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Book Categories: Henry VIII, Court, Writings, Wives, Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard, Katherine Parr, Henry's Children, Relatives, Mistresses, Others, Thomas More, Reign, The Mary Rose, Fiction, Children's Books, DVDs

King Henry VIII

Henry VIII by David Loades. Portrays the infamous Tudor king as neither a genius nor a tyrant, but a man like any other except for the extraordinary circumstances in which he found himself.

Henry VIII: The Tudor Tyrant by Richard Rex. Biography of the talented, athletic and temperamental king who changed the course of English history.

Henry VIII by J. J. Scarisbrick. First published in 1968, this biography remains the standard account, based on a thorough exploration of the documentary sources. From the Yale English Monarchs series.

Henry VIII by Lucy Wooding. Cuts away misleading mythology to provide a vivid portrayal of a passionate, willful, intelligent, yet fearful king.

Great Harry: The Extravagant Life of Henry VIII by Carolly Erickson. Biography that covers the king's troubled youth, triumphant early reign, and agonizing old age.

Henry VIII: The Charismatic King Who Reforged a Nation by Kathy Elgin. This fully illustrated biography focuses not only on the king's many marriages, but also on his abilities as a politician, reformer, military strategist, and man of great culture and learning.

Henry VIII: The Life and Rule of England's Nero by John Matusiak. An intimate portrait of a man wholly unfit for power: not only a bad man, but also a bad ruler who failed to achieve his aims.

Henry VIII: The Mask of Royalty by Lacey Baldwin Smith. This is by far the best book I've read about Henry VIII. It explains his personality and actions in the context of his times. If you've never read a biography of Henry VIII, I wouldn't start with this book, but if you're already familiar with his life story, this is definitely worth reading.

Short Biographies

Henry VIII: The Quest for Fame by John Guy. Charismatic and cruel, Henry VIII became mesmerized by his own legend -- and in the process destroyed and remade England.

Off With Her Head! Henry VIII: The Life and Loves of Bluff King Hal by English Heritage. Whether taking on the Pope or the king of France, Henry VIII stamped his mark on English history.

The Making of Henry VIII

Young Henry: The Rise of Henry VIII by Robert Hutchinson. Henry VIII loved magnificence, merriment and the hunting field, but by the age of 35 his time for youthful frolic had ended. This book describes the splendors and tragedies of the young king's court.

Henry: Virtuous Prince by David Starkey. The first book of a highly anticipated biography of Henry VIII. As a young man Henry was a gifted athlete, scholar, and musician. His accession to the throne provided England with hope of a new beginning. Nobody guessed how radical his rule would be.

1536: The Year That Changed Henry VIII by Suzannah Lipscomb. In 1536, Henry met many failures -- physical, personal, and political -- and emerged a different man who transformed his nation.

Henry VIII in History & Literature

Henry VIII and History edited by Thomas Betteridge and Thomas S. Freeman. International scholars look at Henry VIII's reputation from the period after his death to modern times.

Henry VIII: In History, Historiography and Literature edited by Uwe Baumann.

Henry VIII's Court

Henry VIII: The King & His Court by Alison Weir. This book, written by a very popular and entertaining writer, is not a biography; instead, it gives a detailed picture of life at King Henry's court.

Dress at the Court of King Henry VIII by Maria Hayward. Covers the dress of the king and his court, including the cut and construction of garments, materials and colors, the function of livery, and the hierarchy of dress within the royal household. The text is accompanied by full transcripts of wardrobe books of 1516 and 1521.

The Inventory of King Henry VIII: Textiles and Dress edited by Maria Hayward. Transcription of the inventory of Henry VIII's possessions, accompanied by a historical introduction, a glossary of technical terms, and an exhaustive index. (Expensive.)

At Home With Henry VIII: His Life, His Homes, His Wives by Rose Shepherd. What was it really like to be Henry, or to be married to him? How did he live, and where? Who were his servants and what did they do? What clothes did he and his wives wear, how did they entertain themselves, and who did they spend time with?

The Books and Libraries of King Henry VIII and His Wives by James P. Carley. Published by the British Library.

The Last Days of Henry VIII: Conspiracy, Treason and Heresy at the Court of the Dying Tyrant by Robert Hutchinson. The prospect of Henry's death spurred rival court factions into deadly conflict. The author advances a new theory of Henry's medical history and the cause of his death. The book includes eyewitness material, confessions, and love letters between Queen Katherine Parr and the Lord High Admiral.

Books About Henry VIII's Palaces

Henry VIII's Writings

The Letters of King Henry VIII edited by Tim Coates. See what Henry had to say about his wives, Cardinal Wolsey, the Reformation, and more.

Reading Monarchs' Writing edited by Peter C. Herman. Criticism of the poetry of Henry VIII, Mary Stuart, Elizabeth I, and James VI/I.

The Six Wives of Henry VIII

The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir. My favorite book about his wives. It's fascinating and fun to read.

The Wives of Henry VIII by Antonia Fraser. An absorbing look at Henry's six unfortunate wives.

The Six Wives of Henry VIII by David Loades. Recounts in detail the whole sorry tale of the king's wives, from his first marriage, to his brother's widow, to his contented old age in the care of motherly Catherine Parr.

Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII by David Starkey. Draws on draws on the letters and documents of the period, concentrating on the rituals of diplomacy, marriage, pregnancy, and religion.

Divorced, Beheaded, Survived: A Feminist Reinterpretation of the Wives of Henry VIII by Karen Lindsey. Was Anne Boleyn a victim of sexual harassment? The author of this book thinks so. Lindsey's overly modern sensibility is silly at times (especially in the chapter about Katherine Howard), but she succeeds in making the reader look at the wives in a slightly different light.

The Six Wives & Many Mistresses of Henry VIII: The Women's Stories by Amy Licence. What it was like to share Henry's bed, bear his children, and sit on the English throne.

Catherine of Aragon

Catherine of Aragon: The Spanish Queen of Henry VIII by Giles Tremlett. This lively biography sticks close to its subject, Catherine of Aragon, recounting her life story through her own eyes. Catherine was a bold and intelligent woman, and Tremlett presents her stubborn warrior spirit with sympathy without overlooking her faults. Highly recommended! (Read my longer review here.)

Catherine of Aragon: The Tragic Story of Henry VIII's First Unfortunate Wife by Patrick Williams. Biography of the heroic and dignified queen who was cast aside by her husband for reasons of dynastic ambition.

Sister Queens: The Noble, Tragic Lives of Katherine of Aragon and Juana, Queen of Castile by Julia Fox. Dual biography of two daughters of Spain's King Fedinand and Queen Isabella. Juana unexpectedly became Spain's sovereign, but her authority was usurped by her husband and son. Katherine became the first wife of England's King Henry VIII and a key figure in a drama that altered the religious landscape.

Catherine of Aragon by Garrett Mattingly. A classic biography of Henry's first wife.

Anne Boleyn

Books by Famous Royal Historians

The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn by Eric Ives. This biography focuses on Anne's life and legacy, portraying her as an intellectual woman who made her way in a man's world by force of education and personality. She was so powerful that she had to be stopped -- even by a lie.

The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn by Alison Weir. Anne Boleyn's ascent from private gentlewoman to wife of King Henry VIII was astonishing, as was her swift downfall. This book examines in detail the motives and intrigues of those who helped to seal the queen's fate.

The Boleyns: The Rise and Fall of a Tudor Family by David Loades. Anne Boleyn and her siblings, Mary and George, ascended to the peak of influence at Henry VIII's court, but made many enemies who brought down the entire family in blood and disgrace.

More Biographies

Mistress Anne by Carolly Erickson. A biography of Henry's second doomed wife.

Anne Boleyn: Fatal Attractions by G. W. Bernard. This biography portrays Henry VIII's second wife as an intelligent and highly sexual woman, and argues that the allegations of adultery that led to her execution could be close to the truth.

The Early Loves of Anne Boleyn by Josephine Wilkinson. Before she caught the king's eye, Anne had three different suitors. An arranged marriage with James Butler was intended to settle a family dispute. Anne then captured the heart of Henry Percy, but they were torn apart. Lastly, Thomas Wyatt, the dreamy young poet, was captivated by Anne but stepped aside for Henry VIII.

Anne Boleyn: Henry VIII's Obsession by Elizabeth Norton. Biography of the controversial and scandalous Tudor queen.

Anne Boleyn by Norah Lofts. Biography of Henry VIII's second wife by a noted 20th century historical novelist.

Anne Boleyn: A New Life of England's Tragic Queen by Joanna Denny. This biography portrays Henry VIII's second wife, Anne Boleyn, as an intelligent and virtuous woman relentless pursued by a promiscuous, brutish king. The author clearly sympathizes with Boleyn's commitment to religious reform, and attacks Catherine of Aragon and her supporters at every opportunity. Although I found the book too one-sided, it is well-written and entertaining, and presents a convincing defense of Boleyn.

The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn by Retha M. Warnicke. A scholarly look at family politics at the court of Henry VIII. Warnicke attempts to paint a sympathetic portrait of Anne. She believes Anne was executed because she miscarried a deformed child. I found her theories a bit farfetched.

Other Books

The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England's Most Notorious Queen by Susan Bordo. Why has Anne Boleyn inspired such extreme reactions? What did she really look like? How could Henry VIII order the execution of a once beloved wife? This book examines how generations of biographers, novelists, and filmmakers have re-imagined Anne.

In the Footsteps of the Anne Boleyn by Sarah Morris and Natalie Grueninger. An illustrated trip through stately homes, castles, chapels and artefacts with a connection to Henry VIII's second wife, including Hever Castle, Anne's childhood home; Thornbury Castle, where Henry VIII and Anne stayed during their 1535 royal progress; and Windsor Castle, where Anne was made Marquis of Pembroke.

Anne Boleyn: The Queen of Controversy by Lacey Baldwin Smith. Examines Henry VIII's second wife from viewpoint of her own era as well as modern theories about her downfall.

Jane Seymour

Jane Seymour: Henry VIII's Favourite Wife by David Loades. Biography of Henry VIII's third wife, mother of his son Edward VI.

Jane Seymour: Henry VIII's True Love by Elizabeth Norton. Biography of the Tudor king's third wife. Submissive and obedient in front of Henry, her true personality was far more cutthroat.

Jane, the Quene, Third Consort of King Henry VIII by Pamela M. Gross. Biography of Henry's most mysterious queen.

Anne of Cleves

Anne of Cleves: Henry VIII's Discarded Bride by Elizabeth Norton. Biography. Henry VIII's fourth wife is often portrayed as stupid and comical. The real Anne was both intelligent and practical, which helped her to survive.

The Marrying of Anne of Cleves: Royal Protocol in Early Modern England by Retha M. Warnicke. Examines sexual politics at court and the king's failure to consummate his marriage to his fourth queen.

Katherine Howard

Catherine Howard: The Adulterous Wife of Henry VIII by David Loades. Biography of Henry VIII's teenage wife. Her marriage to the king seemed to signify the triumph of her family and other conservatives at court, but her adultery and downfall ruined them.

Catherine Howard: The Queen Whose Adulteries Made a Fool of Henry VIII by Lacey Baldwin Smith. Biography of the king's fifth wife, first published in 1961 under the title "A Tudor Tragedy."

Katherine Howard: A Tudor Conspiracy by Joanna Denny. This biography presents a sympathetic portrait of a girl trapped and betrayed by her own family.

Katherine Parr

Catherine Parr: Henry VIII's Last Love by Susan James. Biography. Desperately in love with another man, Catherine Parr was forced into marriage with a king.

Catherine Parr by Elizabeth Norton. Biography of Henry VIII's sixth wife. Her life was one of duty, but she attempted to escape her destiny and find happiness for herself.

Katherine the Queen: The Remarkable Life of Katherine Parr, the Last Wife of Henry VIII by Linda Porter. Biography of the passionate, ambitious, highly intelligent woman who became one of England's most influential queens.

Katherine Parr: A Guided Tour of the Life and Thought of a Reformation Queen by Brandon G. Withrow. A biography of Henry VIII's sixth wife with annotations on her books and letters. Includes a full reprint of her autobiographical account "Lamentations of a Sinner."

Katherine Parr: Complete Works and Correspondence edited by Janel Mueller. Katherine Parr was the last wife of King Henry VIII. This book includes her published works -- Psalms or Prayers, Prayers or Meditations, The Lamentation of a Sinner -- prayers and Biblical excerpts written in her hand, and her extensive correspondence.

Henry's Children

The Children of Henry VIII by Alison Weir. About Mary I, Elizabeth I, Edward VI, and Jane Grey.

Bastard Prince: Henry VIII's Lost Son by Beverley A. Murphy. A biography of Henry VIII's illegitimate son Henry Fitzroy, who died young.

Lady Katherine Knollys: The Unacknowledged Daughter of King Henry VIII by Sarah-Beth Watkins. Biography of Mary Boleyn's first child. Although unacknowledged as the king's daughter, she was given prime appointments as maid of honour to Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard.

Books About Edward VI
Books About Jane Grey
Books About Mary I
Books About Elizabeth I

Other Family Members

Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury 1473-1541: Loyalty, Lineage and Leadership by Hazel Pierce. Niece of both Edward IV and Richard III, Margaret Pole was the only woman except Anne Boleyn to hold a peerage in her own right during the 16th century. She was executed by her relative Henry VIII.

Reginald Pole: Prince and Prophet by Thomas F. Mayer. A great-nephew of King Edward IV, Cardinal Pole was first the friend and later the foe of his cousin Henry VIII.

Books About Henry's Siblings
King Henry VII
More Books About the Tudors & Their Era

The King's Mistresses

Bessie Blount: Mistress to Henry VIII by Elizabeth Norton. The first biography of Henry's most important mistress. The affair lasted five years, and she gave birth to his son Henry Fitzroy.

Mary Boleyn: The Mistress of Kings by Alison Weir. This full-scale biography cuts through garbled gossip and romantic fiction to uncover the truth about one of the most misunderstood figures of the Tudor age, including how she became Henry VIII's mistress, the probable course of their affair, and the paternity of her children.

Mary Boleyn: The True Story of Henry VIII's Mistress by Josephine Wilkinson. Biography of the sole survivor of a family torn apart by lust and ambition.

The Mistresses of Henry VIII by Kelly Hart. Looking good was not enough to attract King Henry VIII. His mistresses helped influence profound changes in society and religion.

Other People of the Time

The Ebbs and Flows of Fortune by David M. Head is a biography of Thomas Howard, Third Duke of Norfolk. Norfolk, a brother-in-law of Henry VII, was the uncle of Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard. He assisted in the rise and downfall of both women.

Jane Boleyn: The Infamous Lady Rochford by Julia Fox. Biography of Jane Rochford, sister-in-law of Anne Boleyn, who was executed in 1542 for helping Katherine Howard conduct a love affair.

Wolsey: The Life of King Henry VIII's Cardinal by John Matusiak. Biography of Thomas Wolsey, a man of contradictions and extremes whose meteoric rise was followed by a descent into desperation as he attempted to satisfy the master whose ambition ultimately broke him.

Thomas Cranmer: A Life by Diarmaid MacCulloch. Cranmer made Henry VIII's divorce from Anne Boleyn happen, wrote the Book of Common Prayer, and was executed by "Bloody" Mary for his plotting on behalf of Lady Jane Grey. This highly readable biography is the first new treatment of Cranmer in three decades. (Review © Amazon.com.)

Graven With Diamonds by Nicola Schulman. Biography of Thomas Wyatt, courtier, poet, assassin, spy -- and lover of Anne Boleyn.

Thomas Wyatt by Susan Brigdan. Biography of the poet whose poetry held a mirror to the secret, capricious world of Henry VIII's court.

Henry VIII's Last Love: The Life of Katherine Willoughby by David Baldwin. In 1533, Katherine Willoughby married Charles Brandon, Henry VIII's closest friend. After Brandon's death, it was rumoured that Henry intended to wed Katherine. Hers was a life of privilege mixed with tragedy and danger, losing both her sons to illness and being forced into exile in Poland.

Henry VIII's Last Victim: Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey by Jessie Childs. This biography of the Tudor poet sheds new light on the reign and personality of Henry VIII.

The Divorce of Henry VIII: The Untold Story from Inside the Vatican by Catherine Fletcher. Henry's man in Rome was a wily diplomat who drew no limits on skullduggery -- including kidnapping, bribery and theft -- to make his king a free man.

The Political Career of Thomas Wriothesley by Geoffrey Gibbons is about the first Earl of Southampton, Henry VIII's last chancellor.

Henry VIII's Conservative Scholar by Andrew A. Chibi. Bishop John Stokesley and the divorce, royal supremacy and doctrinal reform.


The Rise & Fall of Thomas Cromwell: Henry VIII's Most Faithful Servant by John Schofield. This biography reveals that the popular image of Cromwell as a blood-stained henchman is largely fictional.

Thomas Cromwell: Servant to Henry VIII by David Loades. This biography shows how Cromwell managed his relationship with Henry VIII, and how he manipulated the politics of the court that eventually destroyed him.

James IV and James V of Scotland

Fatal Rivalry: Flodden, 1513: Henry VIII and James IV and the Decisive Battle for Renaissance Britain by George Goodwin. In 1513, the vicious rivalry between the young Henry VIII of England and his charismatic brother-in-law, James IV of Scotland, ended in violence at Flodden Field in the north of England. This book recreates the royal drama.

Thorns and Thistles by C. Patrick Hotle deals with diplomacy between Henry VIII and King James V of Scotland.

Thomas More

The Life of Thomas More by Peter Ackroyd. More was Henry's good friend -- until he refused to endorse the king's marriage to Anne Boleyn. This biography traces the life, from baptism to beheading, of the lawyer who became a saint.

Thomas More: A Biography by Richard Marius. Explains the religious thought and controversies of the time.

A Daughter's Love: Thomas More and His Dearest Meg by John Guy. Sir Thomas More's opposition to King Henry VIII's marriage to Anne Boleyn led to his execution, but the devotion of More's daughter Margaret secured his place in history.

The King's Good Servant but God's First: The Life and Writings of Saint Thomas More by James Monti.

Thomas More (Great Christian Thinkers) by Anne Murphy and Peter Vardy. An examination of More's religious beliefs and writings.

Utopia by Thomas More. More's most famous work, in which he describes his idea of the perfect world. First published in 1516.

Henry's Reign

The Reign of Henry VIII: Politics, Policy and Piety edited by Diarmaid MacCulloch.

Henry VIII: Court, Church and Conflict by David Loades. Explores the turmoil of Henry VIII's reign and how the king manipulated those around him.

Courtly Letters in the Age of Henry VIII by Seth Lerer. Tudor literary culture and the arts of deceit.

The Reformation

Henry VIII and the English Reformation by Richard Rex. Emphasizes the personal role of Henry VIII in driving the Reformation process and the way it reinforced his power.

The King's Reformation: Henry VIII and the Remaking of the English Church by G. W. Bernard. A major reassessment of England's break with Rome.

The Last Divine Office: Henry VIII and the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Geoffrey Moorhouse. Draws on long-forgotten material from the great Benedictine Durham Priory, revealing the plunder and ruin of some 650 monastic religious houses in England and Wales.

Religious Identities in Henry VIII's England by Peter Marshall. Explores the complex web of identities that people were forced to assume as the king sought to take control of his national church.

Henry VIII, the League of Schmalkalden, and the English Reformation by Rory McEntegart. An examination of the development of Henry's religious thinking in the context of the foreign policy of German Protestants, the ministerial priorities of Thomas Cromwell, and factional politics at Henry's court.

Henry VIII and the Reformation of Parliament by Patrick Coby. This historical role-playing game transforms students into lords, commoners, and members of the English Parliament during 1529-36.

The Mary Rose

The Warship Mary Rose: The Life and Times of King Henry VIII's Flagship by David Childs. The raising of the Mary Rose in 1982 made headline news, but it is not just an archaeological relic. This book tells the story of the ship's construction and career in the context of Tudor politics and court life. Heavily illustrated.

Fiction About Henry & His Court

The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George. A well-researched, entertaining novel narrated by the king himself. If you like big, romantic historical novels, this one's for you.

Wolf Hall: A Novel by Hilary Mantel. Thomas Cromwell earns King Henry VIII's favor, but what will be the price of his triumph? Winner of the 2009 Booker Prize for Fiction. Followed by a sequel, Bring Up the Bodies, about the downfall and trial of Anne Boleyn.

King's Fool: A Notorious King, His Six Wives, and the One Man Who Knew All Their Secrets by Margaret Campbell Barnes. Court jester Will Somers witnesses the rise and fall of Henry VIII's queens.

Murder Most Royal by Jean Plaidy. The story of Henry VIII's two executed wives, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard.

King Henry VIII by William Shakespeare. This play was written during the reign of Henry's daughter Queen Elizabeth I.

Novels About Catherine of Aragon

The King's Pleasure by Norah Lofts. Fictional account of the life of King Henry VIII's first wife, Katharine of Aragon. This is one of the books that triggered my interest in royalty. It was originally published in 1969.

The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory. Novel about Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of England's King Henry VIII.

The Spanish Bride by Laurien Gardner. Another novel about Catherine of Aragon.

Katharine of Aragon by Jean Plaidy. Trilogy of novels about the life of Henry's VIII first wife: Katharine the Virgin Widow, The Shadow of the Pomegranate, and The King's Secret Matter.

The Spanish Queen: A Novel of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon by Carrolly Erickson. The strong-willed Queen Catherine tell hers own story -- a tale that carries her from the scented gardens of Grenada to the conflict-ridden Tudor court.

The Queen's Lady by Barbara Kyle. Romance novel about a lady-in-waiting to Henry VIII's first wife, Catherine of Aragon.

Novels About Anne Boleyn

Brief Gaudy Hour by Margaret Campbell Barnes. Novel about Anne Boleyn.

Sow the Tempest by Jane Lane. Novel about Henry VIII's obsession with Anne Boleyn.

The Concubine by Norah Lofts. About Henry VIII's second wife, Anne Boleyn. First published in 1963.

The Lady in the Tower by Jean Plaidy. One of history's most complex and alluring women -- Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII -- comes to life in this classic novel by popular novelist Jean Plaidy (who also wrote under the names Victoria Holt and Philippa Carr).

The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn by Robin Maxwell. A novel told from Queen Anne's viewpoint.

In Bed with Anne Boleyn: A Novel by Lacey Baldwin-Smith. The story of Henry VIII's second wife, Anne Boleyn, through the eyes of Mark Smeaton, the king's favorite musician, and Thomas Cromwell, the king's chief minister.

Dear Heart, How Like You This? by Wendy J. Dunn. A novel about Thomas Wyatt, the poet who was Anne Boleyn's cousin and suitor.

At the Mercy of the Queen: A Novel of Anne Boleyn by Anne Clinard Barnhill. At the age of 15, Margaret Shelton arrives at the court of Henry VIII and is drawn into the perilous web of her cousin Anne Boleyn's ambition.

Tarnish by Katherine Longshore. Fiction. Anne Boleyn is the odd girl out at Henry VIII's court until she accepts popularity lessons from dashing poet Thomas Wyatt. For readers ages 12 and up.

Novels About Mary Boleyn

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. Novel about Anne Boleyn's sister Mary, who was Henry's mistress before Anne caught his eye. Winner of the 2002 Parker Romantic Novel of the Year award. I found this book quite entertaining -- a real page-turner.

The Last Boleyn: A Novel by Karen Harper. Another novel about Anne Boleyn's sister Mary.

Mademoiselle Boleyn by Robin Maxwell. When Anne and Mary Boleyn become spies in the French court, Anne discovers the power of catching the eye of a king.

Fictional Boleyn Connections

Threads by Nell Gavin. Romance about a modern couple who are reincarnated from Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.

The Boleyn King: A Novel by Laura Andersen. The first book in a trilogy about the fictional King Henry IX, son of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. When he and his best friend fall in love with the same woman, romantic obsession looms over a new generation of Tudors.

To Die For by Sandra Byrd. Novel about Meg Wyatt, the (fictionalized) best friend of Anne Boleyn. Christian fiction.

Novels About Jane Seymour

The Favored Queen: A Novel of Henry VIII's Third Wife by Carolly Erickson. A novel about Jane Seymour, who married King Henry days after the execution of Anne Boleyn.

Plain Jane: A Novel of Jane Seymour by Laurien Gardner. When King Henry VIII tires of his second wife, Anne Boleyn, his wandering eye falls on plain Jane Seymour. She intends to win not only his heart but also the crown.

I, Jane: In the Court of Henry VIII by Diane Haeger. Novel from the point of view of Jane Seymour, third wife of England's King Henry VIII.

The May Bride: A Novel by Suzannah Dunn. Jane Seymour, future wife of Henry VIII, finds herself in the midst of scandal and intrigue when her brother brings a bride home to Wolf Hall.

Novels About Anne of Cleves

My Lady of Cleves by Margaret Campbell Barnes. The story of Henry VIII's fourth queen and her secret love.

The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory. Fiction. Anne of Cleves has her own good reasons for agreeing to marry the ageing King Henry VIII, but she senses a trap closing around her. Meanwhile, Catherine Howard thinks she can dazzle her way to the throne.

Novels About Katherine Howard

The Rose Without a Thorn by Jean Plaidy. Novel about the life of Henry VIII's unfortunate fifth wife, Katherine Howard.

The Queen's Mistake by Diane Haeger. When young Catherine Howard becomes the fifth wife of Henry VIII, she is compelled to deny her heart's desire in favor of her family's ambition.

The Unfaithful Queen: A Novel of Henry VIII's Fifth Wife by Carrolly Erickson. Eager, high-spirited Catherine Howard catches the king's eye -- but she has already been the sensual plaything of three other men.

The Boleyn Wife by Brandy Purdy. Novel about Anne Boleyn, Katherine Howard, and Lady Rochford -- the woman who helped destroy them both. (Originally published under the title "Veneagence Is Mine.")

The Fifth Queen by Ford Madox Ford. Literary novel in which Katherine Howard is portrayed as an intelligent woman battling for social change.

No Will But His: A Novel of Kathryn Howard by Sarah A. Hoyt. Cousin of the ill-fated Anne Boleyn, Katherine Howard knows the danger of being the wife of Henry VIII. She assumes the role of his untouched child bride, but her innocence is imagined, the first of many lies she must tell to gain the throne.

The King's Rose by Alisa M. Libby. Fast-paced, well-written novel about King Henry VIII's teenaged fifth wife, Catherine Howard.

An Unchaste Life: Memoir of a Tudor Queen by Anne Cato. Fictional account of the life of Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of King Henry VIII of England.

The Tapestry: A Novel by Nancy Bilyeau. A young woman at Henry VIII's court tries to protect her friend Catherine Howard from becoming the king's next wife.

Fictional Howard Connections

The Confession of Katherine Howard: A Novel by Suzannah Dunn. The story of Henry VIII's fifth wife, a teenager who was executed for infidelity, as told by her (fictional) friend.

Gilt by Katherine Longshore. Novel about a fictional friend of Henry VIII's fifth wife, Catherine Howard. For young adult (teen) readers.

Novels About Katherine Parr

The Sixth Wife by Jean Plaidy. Novel about the life of Henry VIII's last queen, Katherine Parr.

Queen's Gambit: A Novel by Elizabeth Fremantle. Widowed for the second time at age 31, Katherine Parr falls for dashing courtier Thomas Seymour. However, she also attracts the attentions of the ailing and dangerously powerful King Henry VIII.

The Last Wife of Henry VIII: A Novel by Carolly Erickson. Another fictional account of the life of Catherine Parr.

The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr by Sandra Byrd. Novel about a fictional lady-in-waiting to Henry VIII's sixth and final wife, Katherine Parr.

The Ivy Crown by Mary Luke. Another novel about Katherine Parr.

Red Queen's Daughter by Jacqueline Kolosov. Fantasy-historical. Mary Seymour, the orphaned daughter of Henry VIII's wife Katherine Parr, becomes a magician in the court of Queen Elizabeth I.

Novels About Henry VIII's Sisters

The Forgotten Queen by D.L. Bogdan. Novel about the life and loves of Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry VII, who married King James IV of Scotland.

The Thistle and the Rose by Jean Plaidy. The story of Margaret Tudor, whose life of tragedy and scandal rivaled that of her brother Henry VIII.

The Secret Bride by Diane Haeger. Novel about Mary Tudor, Henry VIII's sister, who defied him by choosing her own second husband.

When Knighthood Was in Flower by Charles Major. Another novel about Henry's sister Mary and her relationship with Charles Brandon.

Mary, Queen of France by Jean Plaidy. Another novel about Henry VIII's younger sister Mary.

Reluctant Queen by Geraldine Hartnett. Novel about Henry VIII's sister Mary, who was forced to marry the elderly king of France although she was in love with Henry's friend Charles Brandon.

Novels About the More Family

The King's Confidante: The Story of the Daughter of Sir Thomas More by Jean Plaidy. Novel about Margaret More, whose father was a friend and adviser of Henry VIII -- and later became the king's foe. First published under the title "Saint Thomas' Eve."

Portrait of an Unknown Woman by Vanora Bennett. Novel about Sir Thomas More and his family seen through the eyes of his daughter Meg.

Other Members of the Court

The King's Curse by Philippa Gregory. The story of lady-in-waiting Margaret Pole and her unique view of her cousin Henry VIII's stratospheric rise to power. From the Cousins War series.

Secrets of the Tudor Court by D.L. Bogdan. Novel about Mary Howard, wife of Henry Fitzroy, the illegitimate son of England's King Henry VIII. Bogdan is also the author of Rivals in the Tudor Court, about Mary's father, Thomas Howard, third duke of Norfolk (uncle of Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard).

The Queen's Rival: In the Court of Henry VIII by Diane Haeger. Bessie Blount, maid of honor to Katherine of Aragon, captures the attention of King Henry VIII himself -- until the infamous Boleyn girls come to court.

Suspense, Mystery, Horror

The Serpent Garden by Judith Merkle Riley. Suspense novel about a woman painter in the court of Henry VIII.

The Crown: A Novel by Nancy Bilyeau. A thriller set during the reign of Henry VIII. To save her father's life, a nun must find an ancient crown. Her search reveals secrets about the fates of the Black Prince, Richard the Lionheart, and King Henry's brother, Prince Arthur.

Keeper of the King's Secrets by Michelle Diener. King Henry VIII's personal artist, Susanna Horenbout, searches for a missing diamond, plunging into the heart of the court's most bitter infighting.

Henry VIII: Wolfman by A. E. Moorat. Gory story in which the much-married Tudor king becomes a werewolf.

Secrets of the Tudor Court series

The Pleasure Palace by Kate Emerson. At the perilous Tudor royal court, lady-in-waiting Jane Popyngcourt receives flattering attention from new king Henry VIII, but gives her heart to another man. This is the first novel in Emerson's Secrets of the Tudor Court series.

Secrets of the Tudor Court: Between Two Queens by Kate Emerson. Pretty, flirtatious, and ambitious, Nan Bassett may be the only one who can reassure a suspicious King Henry VIII of her family's loyalty. But Nan is guarding a secret that could put her life in jeopardy.

By Royal Decree by Kate Emerson. At the court of Henry VIII, a young woman named Bess hopes to persuade the king to let her marry a divorced man.

At the King's Pleasure by Kate Emerson. Beautiful Anne Stafford, lady-in-waiting to Queen Catherine of Aragon, is torn between two men. Then her life becomes more complicated when King Henry VIII also starts to pursue her.

The King's Damsel by Kate Emerson. A young woman named Tamsin becomes maid of honor to Henry VIII's daughter Mary, then catches the eye of the king himself.

Royal Inheritance by Kate Emerson. Novel about a young woman in the court of Henry VIII who suspects she may be the king's illegitimate daughter.

"The Tudors" TV Show Tie-Ins

The Tudors: It's Good to Be King by Michael Hirst. Scripts for the first episodes of the Showtime TV series "The Tudors," about the young Henry VIII. Includes color photos and essays about the Tudor era and dynasty.

The Tudors: The King, the Queen, and the Mistress by Michael Hirst and Anne Gracie. This novelization of season one of "The Tudors" introduces young, virile King Henry VIII and the women who will cause him to alter the course of history.

Teen and Children's Books

Henry VIII: Royal Beheader by Sean Price. Biography for children ages 9 to 12 from the Wicked History series.

Henry VIII by Marilyn Tower Oliver. For children ages 9 to 12.

Henry VIII by Nick Ford. Biography for young adult readers.

VIII by H. M. Castor. Fiction. Destined for greatness... tormented by demons. This is the story of Henry VIII's transformation from a handsome, gifted youth to a murderous, cruel king. For readers ages 12 and up.

Patience, Princess Catherine: A Young Royals Book by Carolyn Meyer. Fiction about Catherine of Aragon, first wife of Henry VIII.

Doomed Queen Anne by Carolyn Meyer. Novel about Anne Boleyn from the Young Royals series.

Beware the King by Stewart Ross. Historical fiction for children ages 9 to 12. Anne Boleyn falls in love with Henry VIII and cannot see why she would do well to beware the king.

VIII by H. M. Castor. Young adult fiction. This book tells the story of Hal, a young, handsome warrior who believes he has been chosen to lead his people but is plagued by the ghosts of his family's violent past. He is Henry VIII.

Henry VIII and His Wives is a coloring book!

Henry VIII and His Wives Paper Dolls by Tom Tierney.

Movies, TV, & Music

These DVDs are formatted for North American audiences.

Television Dramas

The Six Wives of Henry VIII. Famous six-part BBC drama starring Keith Michell as the king. Accurate and highly enjoyable.

The Tudors - The Complete First Season. Television series starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers as a sexy young Henry VIII.

Note: If you're a U.S. resident, you can currently download episodes of all four seasons of the TV series The Tudors from Amazon. (Be aware that the show contains violence, sexual content, and nudity.)

The Tudors - The Complete Second Season. Henry VIII takes control of his kingdom, and his tyranny spares no one - not even the women who love him (Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn).

The Tudors - The Complete Third Season. Henry VIII weds Jane Seymour and Anne of Cleves.

The Tudors: The Final Season. Henry spends his last days with wives Catherine Howard and Katherine Parr.

The Other Boleyn Girl. An apparently low-budget 2003 television movie adapation of the Philippa Gregory book about Anne Boleyn and her sister, Mary. Jodhi May is fantastic as Anne Boleyn, but otherwise the movie is pedestrian and a little odd (the sisters speak directly to the camera as if they're participating in a TV reality show).


Anne of the Thousand Days. This movie about Anne Boleyn is inaccurate but fun to watch. Stars Genevieve Bujold as Anne and Richard Burton as Henry VIII. This DVD set also includes "Mary, Queen of Scots" starring Vanessa Redgrave.

Private Life of Henry VIII. Classic 1933 movie, starring Charles Laughton as a buffoonish King Henry.

The Other Boleyn Girl. This 2008 movie stars Natalie Portman as Anne Boleyn, Scarlett Johansson as her sister, Mary, and Eric Bana as King Henry. An OK costume drama but nothing more.

A Man for All Seasons. A wonderful 1966 movie about Thomas More and Henry VIII. Paul Scofield won an Oscar for his portrayal of More. The movie also won Oscars for best director, best picture, best screenplay, best cinematography, and best costumes. Robert Shaw plays Henry VIII very well, and Orson Wells appears as Cardinal Wolsey.

A Man for All Seasons: A Play in Two Acts by Robert Bolt. The script of the play on which the movie was based.


The Six Wives of Henry VIII. David Starkey's excellent 2001 documentary miniseries about the king's wives.

National Geographic: Madness of Henry VIII. TV documentary with dramatic recreations and insights from experts.

More DVDs About the Tudor Dynasty


Henry VIII: If Love Now Reigned. Music composed by Henry VIII, including "Pastime With Good Company" and "Departure Is My Chief Pain."

All Goodly Sports: Music of Henry VIII. Another collection of Henry VIII's music.

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Related Topics

King Edward VI
Lady Jane Grey, Queen for Nine Days
"Bloody Mary" - Queen Mary I
Queen Elizabeth I
King Henry VII
The Tudor Dynasty

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