TV Review: The Six Wives of Henry XIII (1 of 4)

Title: The Six Wives of Henry XIII (Via Amazon Prime)
Episode Title: Catherine of Aragon.
Release Date: 2001

This mini-series was a misdirection on my part, as I thought I was watching a program my friend had recommended to be, but it was the wrong one with the same title.   However, I decided to continue my plans of watching it and reviewing the various episodes (there are four) that I watched.

The premise of the series is a focus on the wives of King Henry XIII.  The first episode deals with the wife he had first and longest, Catherine of Aragon. He was married to her from 1509-1533 (24 years).  She died in 1536.

Catherine was a spanish princess, brought to England in 1501 to marry Henry’s elder brother Arthur.  Arthur however died not long after the wedding, and eventually after the death of Henry VII, Henry married her himself.  He would eventually change the way England worked forever, starting the Church of England to help him divorce his wife so he could remarry and continue to try for a son.

This episode was interesting because I found out information I wasn’t aware of before, such as Catherine having given birth to a son who died a few weeks after birth, but lived long enough to be set up as Prince of Wales.  I had always thought that Catherine had only had Mary.  But then often when the subject comes up, Anne Boleyn tends to take the focus since it was her marriage to Henry that caused the formation of the Church of England, and it was her beheading that largely sits in the forefront of Henry’s legacy.

I did like that they had the actress (whose british) speak in spanish in scenes, and using an accent instead of being simply English.  And I’m a fan of Starkey’s narration, although I sometimes find the information out of date (possibly due in this case to the age of the documentary/dramatization).  However, as this episode inspired me to look more in-depth into Catherine’s life, I feel its done an adequate job as a documentary.

So my final grade so far is a B.  I like some of the acting choices, and the costumes, but some of the stylistic choices and design aren’t really melding with the rest.

If you wish to watch this, and have Amazon Prime its available to watch for free with your account.

Part Two: Anne Boleyn

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