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A Little Bit of Her-story

Portrait of Catherine of Aragon and headshot of Adrianna Hicks



played by Adrianna Hicks

“My name’s Catherine of Aragon
Was married 24 years, I’m a paragon
Of royalty, my loyalty is to the Vatican
So if you try to dump me you won’t try that again…”

Birth and Death: 15 December 1485 – 7 January 1536
Place of Birth: Palace of Alcalá de Henares, near Madrid, Spain
Parents: Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon, joint monarchs of Spain
Education: Embroidery, dancing, history, poetry, religion, law, Latin, French. Not English

1: to Arthur (Henry’s older brother), 14 November 1501 (aged 15)
2: to Henry VIII, 11 June 1509 (aged 23)
Children: Mary, born 18 February 1516 (later Queen Mary I); 3 stillborn children; 2 died as babies; further miscarriages
Interests: Religion, sewing, dancing, a bit more religion

Cause of Death: Probably a type of cancer
Remembered for: Her refusal to accept that her marriage was invalid; her faith; her dramatic speech to Henry at the court to judge the annulment of their marriage

Catherine was Regent (whilst Henry fought in France in 1513) during the Battle of Flodden; when James IV of Scotland was killed in the battle she wanted to send his body to Henry as a present…

Queenspiration: Beyoncé and Shakira

Portrait of Anne Boleyn and headshot of Andrea Macasaet



played by Andrea Macasaet


“I’m that Boleyn girl, and I’m up next
See, I broke England from the Church, yeah I’m that sexy
Why did I lose my head?
Well my sleeves may be green, but my lipstick’s red…”

Birth and Death: Probably 1501 – 19 May 1536
Place of Birth: Blickling Hall, Norfolk, England
Parents: Elizabeth, daughter of the Duke of Norfolk, and Sir Thomas Boleyn, newly knighted courtier
Education: In the Netherlands and also France; Reformation thinking and debate, French

Marriage: 25 January 1533 (aged 31)
Children: Elizabeth, born 7 September 1533 (later Queen Elizabeth I)
At least two miscarriages
Interests: Fashion, dancing, flirtation, collecting evangelical works
Others Queens: Lady in waiting to Catherine of Aragon

Cause of Death: Executed on Tower Green, London
Remembered for: Headlessness; bringing about the break with the Pope; having a sixth fingernail

Anne was fluent in French as would have acted as a translator during the visit of Emperor Charles V to court in 1522…

Queenspiration: Lily Allen and Avril Lavigne

Portrait of Jane Seymour next to headshot of Abby Mueller



played by Abby Mueller


“Jane Seymour, the only one he truly loved
When my son was newly born
I died, but I’m not what I seem
Or am I? Stick around, and you’ll suddenly see more…”

Birth and Death: 1507 or 1508 – 24 October 1537
Place of Birth: Wulf Hall, Wiltshire, England
Parents: Margery Wentworth and Sir John Seymour, minor gentry
Education: Very conventional; running a household, needlework

Marriage: 30 May 1536 (aged 28/9)
Children: Edward, born 12 October 1537 (later King Edward VI)
Interests: Religious faith, being obedient
Other Queens: Lady-in-waiting to Anne Boleyn

Cause of Death: Hemorrhage after the birth of Prince Edward
Remembered for: Being the “only one he ever loved”; having two troublesome brothers who fought over the regency of the young prince after King Henry’s death

While Anne was still alive, Henry sent Jane a gift of money, which she refused, apparently saying there “was no treasure in this world that she valued so much as her honor…”

Queenspiration: Adele and Sia

Portrait of Anna of Cleves and headshot of Brittney Mack



played by Brittney Mack

“Ich bin Anna of Cleves, Ja
When he saw my portrait, he was like “Ja!”
But I didn’t look as good as I did in my pic
Funny how we all discuss that, but never Henry’s little pr-…”

Birth and Death: 1515 – 16 July 1557
Place of Birth: Schloss Berg, near Solingen, Germany
Parents: Maria, Duchess of Julich-Berg and John III, Duke of Cleves
Education: Minimal, raised to become a minor Duchess; only spoke German

Marriage: 6 January 1540 (aged 24)
Children: None
Other Queens: Visited Katherine Howard once she became queen and bowed down to her
Interests: Staying alive

Cause of Death: Probably cancer
Remembered for: Staying alive

When Henry first met Anna of Cleves he disguised himself, possibly imagining some sort of romantic reaction. When he kissed her, she is said to have turned away coldly at this hideous stranger molesting her; according to a witness, Lord Russell, he “never saw his highness so marvelously astonished…”

Queenspiration: Nicki Minaj and Rihanna

Portrait of Katherine Howard and headshot of Courtney Mack



played by Courtney Mack

“Prick up your ears, I’m the Katherine who lost her head
For my promiscuity outside of wed-
Lock up your husbands, lock up your sons
K-Howard is here and the fun’s begun…”

Birth and Death: Probably 1523 – 13 February 1542
Place of Birth: Norfolk House, Lambeth, London
Parents: Joyce Culpeper and Edmund Howard, son of the Duke of Norfolk
Education: Brought up in Sussex as part of a large group of aristocratic young girls

Marriage: 18 July 1540 (aged 17)
Children: None
Other Queens: Lady-in-waiting to Anna of Cleves; cousin to Anne Boleyn
Interests: Dancing, music, animals

Cause of Death: Executed on Tower Green, London
Remembered for: Being completely used (and abused) by those with more power

From her arrest on 8 November 1541 to her execution three months later, Catherine stayed under house arrest at Syon House; in late January 1542, an Act was passed in Parliament that made it treason for a woman to become the king’s wife without “plain declaration before of her unchaste life,” meaning Henry could have her killed…

Queenspiration: Ariana Grande and Britney Spears

Portrait of Catherine Parr and headshot of Anna Uzele



played by Anna Uzele


“Five down, I’m the final wife
I saw him to the end of his life
I’m the survivor – Catherine Parr
And I bet you wanna know how I got this far…”

Birth and Death: Probably 1512 – 5 September 1548
Place of Birth: Blackfriars, London
Parents: Maud Green and Sir Thomas Parr, both distantly related to the royal family
Education: Traditional “female” accomplishments; French, Italian, Latin

1. to Sir Edward Burgh, a courtier, 1529–1533
2. to John Neville, Lord Latimer, 1534–1543
3. to Henry VIII, 12 July 1543
4. to Thomas Seymour, May 1547, in secret
Children: A daughter (with Thomas Seymour) who died as a baby
Other Queens: Her mother was a lady-in-waiting to Catherine of Aragon; friendly with her daughter Princess Mary
Interests: Writing books, encouraging education, Reformation

Cause of Death: Childbirth
Remembered for: Surviving

Catherine was the first woman in England to publish books under her own name and in English

Queenspiration: Alicia Keys and Emeli Sandé