12 April 2009

Henry VIII and his wife's

Henry's Women, a new temporary exhibition at Hampton Court Palace in south-west London, explores King Henry VIII's relationships with the many women who shaped and influenced his reign.
Highlights include the earliest surviving panel portrait of Katherine of Aragon, Henry's first wife. The monkey she holds is shown reaching for her cross, symbolising the importance of her Catholic faith.
Anne Boleyn, the mother of Elizabeth I, became Henry's second wife after his first marriage was annulled. The King was frustrated by her inability to give him a son, though, and had her executed.
Henry VIII married Jane Seymour, one of Anne Boleyn's attendants, 11 days after her execution. She died at Hampton Court Palace in 1537, 12 days after giving him a son, the future Edward VI.
Catherine Howard became Henry's fifth wife following the annulment of his marriage to Anne of Cleves. This portrait, probably painted in the 17th Century, was recently re-identified as the young queen.
Kathryn Parr became Henry's sixth wife in 1543, remaining with him until his death four years later. This portrait, painted by an unknown artist, comes from the collection of Appleby Castle in Cumbria.
Other paintings in the exhibition include this portrait of Henry's daughter Elizabeth, who ascended the throne in 1558. Henry's Women runs at Hampton Court Palace from 10 April to 3 August.

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