What a time to be a wife! These drawings were created as a result of my reading the Shardlake series by C. J. Sansom, set in Tudor England and the court of that giant ogre, Henry VIII. I was first struck by how badly Catherine of Aragon was treated, and the fallout her subsequent removal from tenure caused across the country under the ‘new faith’. After Catherine’s six pregnancies only Mary survived (who would become Mary I of England in 1553) and providing no male heirs for her husband, she was divorced using questionable logic in religious law and doctrine, and cast aside. When she died in 1536, the King and his new wife, Anne Boleyn, celebrated.
Each woman in his hexad was treated badly by the king, or the machinations of the court and the various personalities vying for power. I was left struck by how lucky I am to live in a time and country where I won’t be beheaded for having an affair, and how important it is to ensure the safety of women around the world who are struggling in oppressive regimes. This is my small, insufficient tribute to them.
1485 - 1536 Divorced for not providing any surviving male heirs.
1501 - 1536 Beheaded for alleged treason & adultery
1508 - 1537 Died shortly after the birth of Edward VI
1515 - 1557 Annulled due to non-consummation
1523 - 1542 Beheaded for treason and adultery
1512 - 1548 Survived Henry VIII by 18 months