The story of Henry VIII and his six wives has passed from history into legend - taught in the cradle as a cautionary tale and remembered in adulthood as an object lesson in the dangers of marrying into royalty. The true story behind the legend, however, remains obscure to most people, whose knowledge of the affair begins and ends with the aide memoire 'Divorced, executed, died, divorce, executed, survived'. David Loades' masterly book recounts the whole sorry tale in detail from Henry's first marriage, to his brother's widow Catherine of Aragon, to more or less contented old age in the care of the motherly Catherine Parr.
DAVID LOADES is Emeritus Professor of the University of Wales. He has written seventeen books on the Tudors. He lives in Burford in Oxfordshire.