Monday, October 14, 2013

Henry VIII's Admirable Daughter

England's most infamous king Henry VIII was obsessed by the wish for a male heir. His union with Catherine of Aragon produced only a girl, Mary Tudor. When the Pope refused Henry be divorced, Henry broke with the Roman Church, thereby forging a divided England. He declared himself head of the English church, had his first marriage declared "null and void'' and married Anne Boleyn. Unfortunately she couldn't fulfill her royal husband's wish to have a son. She only gave birth to girl, Elizabeth. That sealed her fate. Anne Boleyn was beheaded, and Henry married Jane Seymour, who did have a short-lived male heir, Edward VI. To continue his matrimonial marathon after Seymour's natural death, Henry married and divorced Anne of Cleves, followed by Catherine Howard, whom he beheaded, and then married Catherine Parr, all without a living male heir. After Henry's death, his devout Catholic daughter, Mary, became queen and an enemy of Protestants. She regarded the teenage Elizabeth as a threat to her and tried everything to prevent her succession to the throne. She kept her a prisoner in the Tower of London but was unable to find hard evidence of treason before the Privy Council Court. Elizabeth became a heroine of the Protestants and queen after Mary's death. It's almost a miracle that she survived. What made me decide to make her the heroine of my new musical, Lady Bess, is that she achieved this by courage, valor and sharp intelligence.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds amazing. Can I recommend Peter Ackroyd's new book, Tudors. For the protestant burnings, it's as if you're right next to the flames!