Henry VIII and His Six Wives – May 2023

Coming in May 2023! Henry VIII and His Six Wives!

Online Henry VIII and His Six Wives conference 22-31 May 2023

Place: Here on a private part of this website and also in a private Facebook group, and via Zoom. Join in from the comfort of your own home!
Dates: 22-31 May, plus 5 June 2023 and regular zoom calls leading up to the event.
Price: Full price $199, early bird price $149 (valid until 17 February 2023) with coupon code EARLYB23.

Hosted by historian and author Claire Ridgway, this completely online event will feature talks from Claire, Dr Tracy Borman, Gareth Russell, Kate McCaffrey, Dr Owen Emmerson and Dr Linda Porter.


I'm Claire Ridgway, author of fourteen Tudor history books.

Henry VIII is that iconic Tudor monarch who's known the world over for his break with Rome and for executing two of his six wives, but what was he really like? Who is the man behind the famous portraits?

Henry VIII's queens consort have had a multitude of biographies and novels written about them, they've been featured in series, movies and plays, and even musicals, but who were they as women?

In "Henry VIII & His Six Wives", we look at these seven Tudor figures as individuals, exploring their lives and stories.

  • We examine the "real" Henry VIII, the man behind the king.
  • We look at whether Henry VIII was a Renaissance prince or tyrant, or a mixture of the two.
  • We bring to life Catherine of Aragon as a formidable queen and woman, rather than the unwanted and banished wife.
  • We look at how Anne Boleyn rose from a courtier's daughter to become Queen of England and just what kind of queen she was.
  • We go behind the traditional idea of Jane Seymour as meek and mild, and rather lacking in personality.
  • We examine the "afterlife" of Anne of Cleves, her life after the annulment of her marriage.
  • We explore a forgotten side of Catherine Howard's queenship and personality by looking at her royal progress to the North.
  • We look at the life of Catherine Parr, Henry VIII's final wife, who has often been seen as the king's nursemaid and companion.

Henry VIII and his six queens will be brought to life in this interactive online event through video talks, zoom Q&A sessions, zoom discussions, and chatroom chats. There'll be plenty of time in our hour-long sessions to "grill" our experts and share your views.


  • Day 1 - 22 May – Intro talk and informal chat via zoom with host Claire Ridgway
  • Day 2 - 23 May - The Private Life of Henry VIII – talk from Dr Tracy Borman; Henry the Tyrant - livestreamed talk by Claire Ridgway via zoom at 10pm London time / 5pm New York time.
  • Day 3 - 24 May - Catherine of Aragon – talk from Kate McCaffrey; live Q&A session via zoom with Claire on Henry at 10pm London time / 5pm New York time.
  • Day 4 - 25 May – The Rise of Anne Boleyn – talk from Claire Ridgway; live Q&A session with Kate McCaffrey at 10pm London time / 5pm New York time in our chatroom.
  • Day 5 - 26 May – Jane Seymour: A Political Queen? – talk from Gareth Russell; Q&A session with Claire via zoom at 10pm London time / 5pm New York time.
  • Day 6 – 27 May – The Afterlife of an Unwanted Queen: Anne of Cleves in the Shadow of the Crown – talk from Dr Owen Emmerson; Q&A session with Gareth Russell via zoom at 10pm London time / 5pm New York time.
  • Day 7 – 28 May – Catherine Howard: The Queen in the North – talk from Gareth Russell; Q&A session with Dr Owen Emmerson via zoom at 10pm London time / 5pm New York time.
  • Day 8 – 29 May – Catherine Parr, the Last Wife of Henry VIII, talk from Dr Linda Porter; Q&A session with Gareth Russell via zoom at 10pm London time / 5pm New York time.
  • Day 9 – 30 May – Henry's Six Queens – talk from Claire Ridgway; Q&A session with Dr Linda Porter in the chatroom at 8pm London time / 3pm New York time.
  • Day 10 – 31 May – Henry and his six wives informal chat hosted by Claire via zoom at 10pm London time / 5pm New York time.

Note: Dr Tracy Borman's Q&A will take place on 5th June at 8pm London time / 3pm New York time..

You can use https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html to convert the times to your timezone.

Everything will be recorded and transcribed, and you'll have lifetime access to the recordings, so don't worry if you can't make a particular time.

Zoom Discussion Calls

These video calls are a great way to get to know other event participants and enjoy a blissful hour of Tudor talk. The theme will be Henry & his six wives, books and resources on them, TV and movies etc.

  • Sunday 19 March at 10pm London time / 6pm New York time - Jane Seymour.
  • Sunday 2 April at 10pm London time / 5pm New York time - Anne of Cleves.
  • Sunday 16 April at 10pm London time / 5pm New York time - Catherine Howard.
  • Sunday 14 May at 10pm London time / 5pm New York time - Catherine Parr.

You will be given access to zoom replays too.

EXTRA - I'm also be going to organise a zoom call debating whether or not the marriage of Catherine of Aragon and Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales, was consummated. Date TBC.

Meet our Experts

Dr Tracy Borman

Tracy Borman is a best selling author, historian and broadcaster, specialising in the Tudor period. Her books include Elizabeth’s Women, Thomas Cromwell, The Private Lives of the Tudors, Henry VIII and the Men Who Made Him, and Crown & Sceptre: A New History of the British Monarchy. She has also written a fiction trilogy, The King’s Witch, based in the court of James I.

As well as being a writer and historian, Tracy is joint Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces, Chief Executive of the Heritage Education Trust and Chancellor of Bishop Grosseteste University. She has presented numerous history programmes on television, including three series on
the private lives of royals and other famous historical figures.

Her latest book, Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth I is due out in May.

Tracy will be speaking to us on the Private Life of Henry VIII. Her illustrated talk will take us behind closed doors to explore the private life, love and scandal of England's most famous – and notorious – monarch, Henry VIII. Familiar tales, such as Henry VIII's turbulent love life, will be interwoven with lesser-known aspects of his character and reign – with surprising results! Tracy will reveal every aspect of this famous king's private life: what he ate, how he dressed, his hobbies and friends, health, hygiene and love affairs. The talk will be based on Tracy's bestselling book, The Private Lives of the Tudors.

Kate McCaffrey

Kate McCaffrey
Kate is one of the Assistant Curators at Hever Castle in Kent.

She completed her Master's degree earlier this year with Distinction in Medieval and Early Modern Studies at the University of Kent, where she uncovered new and exciting discoveries about a small Book of Hours, once owned by Anne Boleyn, that is currently held at Hever Castle.

Kate completed her first-class undergraduate degree in History at the University of Warwick, with a term spent abroad in Venice.

In her role at Hever, Kate has been involved with Dr Owen Emmerson in the organisation of the 2022 "Becoming Anne" exhibition, and co-authored the book Becoming Anne: Connections, Culture, Court and has organised the forthcoming exhibition "Catherine and Anne: Queens, Rivals, Mothers", which showcases the similarities between Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn and through new research, carried out by Kate, shows that Catherine owned the very same copy of the prayer book that Anne had. The accompanying book, co-authored with Dr Owen Emmerson and Alison Palmer, is due out in February 2023.

Kate will be talking to us on "Catherine the Queen: Politics, Power and Influence over King and Court". Her talk will explore the height and successes of Catherine of Aragon’s formidable queenship, readjusting the lens in which we view her. Queen Catherine's image is too often associated with the later years of her life, reducing her to the loyal, scorned wife who was cast to one side. This caricature ignores Catherine’s incredible intelligence, strength and political acumen - she deserves her reappraisal.

Claire Ridgway

Historian Claire Ridgway is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the best-selling author of 13 history books, including "The Boleyns of Hever Castle" (co-written with Dr Owen Emmerson), "The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown", "George Boleyn: Tudor Poet, Courtier and Diplomat" (co-written with Clare Cherry, "The Anne Boleyn Collection" and its two sequels, "On This Day in Tudor History", and "On This Day in Tudor History II".

Claire is also the founder of The Anne Boleyn Files and Elizabeth Files blogs, The Tudor Society, and the popular Anne Boleyn Files and Tudor Society YouTube Channel. She contributed to the recent BBC docudrama "The Boleyns: A Scandalous Family", has written for BBC History Extra and All About History Magazine, and been featured on a number of podcasts and radio stations internationally.

Claire will be speaking to us on "Henry the Tyrant" and why he should be known as a tyrant or monster, rather than "Bluff King Hal", and "The Rise of Anne Boleyn", in which she'll explore Anne's rise from courtier's daughter to queen.

Gareth Russell

Gareth Russell gained his History degrees from Oxford and then Queen’s, Belfast, with a research paper on the queen’s household in the thirteenth century and a thesis on Catherine Howard’s household in 1540-1.

He is the author of the bestselling biography of Queen Catherine, “Young and Damned and Fair,” as well as “The Ship of Dreams: The Sinking of the Titanic and the End of the Edwardian Era,” which was named a Book of the Year by the Times and a Best History Book of 2019 by the Daily Telegraph. He is also the author of “A History of the English Monarchy”, “The Emperors”, and “An Illustrated Introduction to the Tudors”.

He has just finished writing “The Palace,” about the people who have lived at Hampton Court, which is due for publication this year, and his book on the Queen Mother, "Do Let's Have Another Drink: The Singular Wit and Double Measures of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother", which he describes as "a confection of 101 of Queen Elizabeth’s memorable quips, put-downs, and larger-than-life personality, one for each year of her life" came out out in October 2022.

Gareth was a contributor to the recent BBC docudrama "The Boleyns: A Scandalous Family" and he presents the weekly podcast “Single Malt History”. He also played a role as a royal historian in the TV coverage of the events surrounding the death and burial of Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022.

Gareth will be doing two talks for us. His first is "Jane Seymour: A Political Queen?". Jane was identified as a conservative queen, loyal to the memory of Katherine of Aragon and her daughter Mary, and a supporter of religious traditionalism. This talk on Queen Jane explores what she believed, what she did, and what she might have been capable of had she lived longer.
His second talk is "Catherine Howard, the Queen in the North". Catherine’s tour of the northern counties in 1541 is overshadowed by the drama of her downfall not longer after, but it shows us a forgotten side of Catherine's personality - and queenship. By focussing on June to October 1541, this talk will explore Catherine’s journey through the north and her politics, feuds, and triumphs.

Dr Owen Emmerson

Dr Owen Emmerson with a portrait of Anne of ClevesDr Owen Emmerson is a social and cultural historian, author of three books, and contributor to a number of television documentaries. He works as Castle Historian and Assistant Curator at Hever Castle in Kent, where he has co-curated three exhibitions. He is also the co-founder of, and a primary contributor to, Hever Castle’s online subscription service, Inside Hever Castle.

His books include The Boleyns of Hever Castle, co-authored with Claire Ridgway, Becoming Anne: Connections, Culture, Court, co-authored with Kate McCaffrey, and Catherine and Anne: Queens, Rivals, Mothers, co-authored with Kate McCaffrey and Alison Palmer. He has written for BBC HistoryExtra, The Daily Mirror, Jacobin, The Telegraph, The Express, and Radio Times.

He has appeared in a number of documentaries about the Tudor era, including “Blood, Sex, and Royalty: Anne Boleyn” (Netflix, 2022); “The Boleyns: A Scandalous Family” (BBC2, 2021); “Who Do You Think You Are? Josh Widdicombe” (BBC1, 2021); “Walking Tudor England” (C5, 2021); “Lady Rochford” (C5, 2021); “Henry VIII and the King’s Men” (Smithsonian, 2020).

Owen completed his BA, MA, and doctoral research at the University of Sussex.

Owen has done extensive research on Anne of Cleves, due to her links with Hever Castle and the work she did on it. He also owns the portrait you see in the picture and has had it lovingly restored. He will be talking to us on "The Afterlife of an Unwanted Queen: Anne of Cleves in the Shadow of the Crown". What was life like for Anne of Cleves when the King discarded her? This lecture will chart the years that Anne of Cleves spent in the shadow of the crown, and will shine a light upon some surprising aspects of Anne's life after Henry.

Dr Linda Porter

Linda Porter has a B.A. and a D.Phil from the University of York, where she studied under the direction of two inspirational professors, Gerald Aylmer and Gwyn A. Williams. She spent nearly ten years lecturing in New York, at Fordham and City Universities among others, before returning with her American husband and daughter to England, where she embarked on a complete change of career. For more than twenty years she worked as a senior public relations practitioner in BT, introducing a ground-breaking international public relations programme during the years of BT’s international expansion. The attractions of early retirement were too good to miss and she has gone back to historical writing as well as reviewing for the BBC History Magazine, The Literary Review and History Today.

Her first book, Mary Tudor: The First Queen, was published to critical acclaim by Piatkus in the UK. It is available from St. Martin's Press in the US under the title The First Queen of England: The Myth of "Bloody Mary". This is a personal history of Mary I, the eldest of Henry VIII’s three children.

Linda's second book is a biography of Katherine Parr, titled Katherine the Queen: The Remarkable Life of Katherine Parr and published by Macmillan. It is the first serious but accessible life of Henry VIII's last queen, a woman of intellect and charm who had a profound influence on the young Elizabeth I.

Her third book, Crown of Thistles: The Fatal Inheritance of Mary Queen of Scots, was also published by Macmillan. It is the story of the Tudor Stewart rivalry.

Her fourth book is Royal Renegades: The Children of Charles I and the English Civil Wars.

Linda won the Biographers Club prize in 2004. She is presently doing research for her fourth book.

Linda's talk is "Catherine Parr, the Last Wife of Henry VIII".

What's included:

  • 10 days of talks and Q&A sessions with 6 historians.
  • Zoom calls to discuss Henry VIII and his six wives with other participants and Claire - These will take place twice monthly starting from February.
  • Membership of our private Facebook group where you can interact with Claire and others who are part of the event.
  • Souvenir event e-book - Transcripts of all the chats and talks for you to enjoy.
  • Recommended reading and resources list.
  • Bio articles of Henry and his six wives
  • Lifetime access to recordings and transcripts.

Register here

Full price $199.00
(approximately £162.50, AUD 297.80, €184.60)
Don't forget to use your coupon if you have one.

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Claire, I have to tell you that I just love the way you present information. Your extraordinary expertise never weighs down the presentation. You bring such clarity, balance and perspective to your remarks.


Many thanks for this brilliant event as well as the gifts and all the work involved. I’ve enjoyed it so much.


First and foremost, I wanted to send out a huge thank you to you and to Tim for putting this event together. It has been an absolute delight and I am so glad that I was able to be a part of it. I have learned so much about Anne that I didn't know before and, while I've been a "fan" of hers for over a decade, this conference has brought her into a new light for me.


It's been wonderful to listen to the presentations, and I plan to listen to them again! This whole program has been a real pleasure!


Thank you for a great event. I learned a lot.


I have so much enjoyed these days and events!


Thank you so much for putting together this event! It's been something I've looked forward to every evening, and I've learned so much from the talks and Q&As. As I said in the chatroom, it's been worth every penny, so thank you.


The event was like having a personally delivered documentary!


I would like to express my thanks and appreciation for "Anne Boleyn, the Woman who Changed England" event. It was not 'just' a Masterclass but a total experience. The guest speakers, each with a unique and personal approach, brought new insights into the ups and downs of Anne Boleyn's significance in history as a whole, but also provided a window into the intimate experience of Anne Boleyn, her family and her contemporaries. The interaction with the fellow followers was an experience in itself. People from Canada, USA, Australia, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, Germany (I hope I didn’t forgot any) and myself from Flanders found each other around the same theme. Although I have been fascinated by Anne Boleyn and family for more than 55 years, I gained a lot of new knowledge


'Anne Boleyn - the woman who changed England' expertly curated by Claire Ridgway brought together a group of historians who generously shared their knowledge. The various talks on Anne's early life and the influences that shaped the woman she became left me with a vivid picture of her and why she was a worthy Queen Consort. Very enjoyable, informative and good value; I'll definitely be signing up for any similar events in the future.


The Woman Who Changed History was a wonderful event and I enjoyed it very much. The level of scholarship involved was impressive and all the presentations were fascinating - I learned a great deal. The Q&A sessions really contributed to the event’s success. Claire is very organized with great attention to detail, and is genuinely concerned that all participants receive the best possible learning experience. This event was well worth the price, and I would be happy to sign up for another - thank you!


I just received my book and I'm looking forward to reading it. I enjoyed all of the presentations. Your current series on Anne's fall has been wonderful. I hope you will offer more in the future. Thank you very much for all you do to advance Tudor research.


I just wanted to thank you for the terrific Anne Boleyn course over the past week! It was really special to hear about the events of May 1536 in "real-time," (and sometimes live!) and to get to experience them with a great group of people. It was so immersive.