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Henry VIII in Fiction

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Book Categories: Henry VIII, Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Mary Boleyn, Boleyns, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard, Howards, Katherine Parr, Henry's Sisters, Thomas More, Court, Nonfiction, Young Adult, Movies

Fiction About Henry & His Court

The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George. An 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 two sequels, Bring Up the Bodies, about the downfall and trial of Anne Boleyn, and The Mirror & the Light, about Thomas Cromwell's final years in Henry's dangerous court.

The Man on a Donkey by H. F. M. Prescott. A classic 1952 novel about the Pilgrimage of Grace, when King Henry VIII was almost toppled by Northern England's opposition the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

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.

Wife After Wife by Olivia Hayfield. Retells the story of Henry VIII in modern times. Harry Rose is a powerful media mogul, recently married to his sixth wife. But his perfect world is about to come crashing down.

Don't Lose Your Head: Life Lessons From the Six Ex-Wives of Henry VIII by Harriet Marsden. Henry's queens give advice on 21st century dating, marriage, and feminism.

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.

Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen by Alison Weir. Fictional account of the life of Henry VIII's first queen, who was forced to fight for her faith, her legitimacy, and her heart. This is the first novel in Weir's Six Tudor Queens series.

Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory. English king Henry VIII's first wife, Katherine of Aragon, forms a special bond with his sisters, Margaret and Mary Tudor, that lasts through betrayals, dangers, loss, and passion.

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.

Anne Boleyn: A King's Obsession by Alison Weir. A novel that presents Henry VIII's second wife as a scholarly young woman who can't resist the temptations of power.

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.

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.

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.

Novels About Mary Boleyn

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. Novel about Anne Boleyn's sister Mary, who was Henry's mistress. Winner of the 2002 Parker Romantic Novel of the Year award. I found this book to be an entertaining 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.

Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen by Alison Weir. Jane longs to be a nun. But her family has other plans. Urged to return King Henry VIII's affection, she is drawn into a dangerous political game.

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.

Anna of Kleve: The Princess in the Portrait by Alison Weir. The surprising and dramatic life of Anne of Cleves, the least known of King Henry VIII's six wives.

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.

Katheryn Howard: The Tainted Queen by Alison Weir. A naive, pretty girl captures the heart of King Henry VIII. But she has a past of which he knows nothing.

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. Katherine Howard assumes the role of the king's untouched bride, 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.

The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory. Kateryn Parr, a 30-year-old widow, has no choice when King Henry VIII commands her to become his sixth wife.

Katharine Parr: The Sixth Wife by Alison Weir. The story of Henry VIII's final wife and her love for another man, who sees her as a stepping stone to the throne.

Queen's Gambit: A Novel by Elizabeth Fremantle. Katherine Parr falls for dashing Thomas Seymour, and also attracts the attention of 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 Fiction

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.

Fatal Throne: The Wives of Henry VIII Tell All by M. T. Anderson, Jennifer Donnelly, and others. Well-known authors tell the stories of English king Henry VIII's six unfortunate queens from their own viewpoints. For 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.

The Light in the Labyrinth by Wendy J. Dunn. Fourteen-year-old Kate Carey becomes an attendant to her aunt, Anne Boleyn, and discovers a secret shakes the foundations of her identity. For young adult readers.

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.

Maid of the King's Court by Lucy Worsley. As a maid of honor to Anne of Cleves, Eliza Camperdowne is drawn into the dizzying, dangerous orbit of Henry VIII. (Young adult fiction.)

Modern Retellings

Anne & Henry: A Love Worth Losing Your Head Over by Dawn Ius. This novel for teenagers imagines Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn as high school students in the United States.

The Dead Queens Club by Hannah Capin. Teenage homecoming king Henry is on his sixth girlfriend in two years -- and two of them are dead.

Nonfiction Children's Books About Henry VIII

Movies About Henry VIII

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.

Documentaries About Henry VIII
More DVDs About the Tudor Dynasty

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Related Topics

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