Countrystudy. Lesson in Reading. (Elective Course). "The Tudors. King Henry VIII and His Six Wives. Love Story"

Разделы: Иностранные языки

LEVEL: Pre-Intermediate and above.


I. Pre-Reading Activities:

  1. Ask the students what they know about the Tudors.
  2. Poster presentation of the main characters of the story.
  3. Guessing the meaning of the unfamiliar words from the context.
  4. Worksheet A is for a teacher. Try to extend your students’ knowledge and tell them the most exciting facts from King Henry VIII’s biography.

II. Reading Activities:

  1. Give the students in the class to read the text “Do not Marry This Man!’’ for themselves from “JUST” (Unit 6B). Reading and Writing. By Jeremy Harmer, “Marshall Cavendish” ELT.

III. Post-Reading Activities:

  1. Give each student in the class a copy of Worksheet B and ask the students to choose the answers. If they aren’t sure of the answers, encourage the students to make a guess.
  2. Check answers in open class or in groups.

IV. Post-Reading Research:

  1. Give the students the task to create an opinion essay “Is Henry VIII a dangerous husband of the 16th century or a great reigner?’’
  2. Give the students the task to collect as much information as they can about similar historical events from internet, books, magazines. The text should not be long but the information must be exciting.






KING HENRY VIII (b.1491-d.1547)

Reigned 1509-1547

KING HENRY VIII (b.1491-d.1547)

This man is one of the most famous character in English history.

Henry VIII was born on June 28,1491, the second son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. He was styled the Duke of York. Henry VII, his father, loved entertainers and the court attracted acrobats, jesters, magicians and musicians. Prince Henry enjoyed music and grew up to be an accomplished musician (although he didn’t write “Greensleeves”, as legent suggests). At the age of ten he could play many instruments, including the fife, harp, viola and drums. He could speak French, Latin, Spanish well. As a young man he was highly intelligent, handsome, extremely athletic. In his youth Henry was a brilliant horseman and a superb shot with a bow and arrow.

Henry’s older brother Arthur married a Spanish princess, Catherine of Aragon, when he was 15. Prince Arthur danced at his wedding and seemed to be in good health, but within a few months he was dead. Some historians think Arthur had tuberculosis or plague. Young Henry was now heir to the throne. The Tudor family came to power after the Wars of Roses. These were civil wars between the houses of York (white rose) and Lancaster (red rose), both of whom claimed the throne. Memories of the horrors of these wars were still alive when Henry VIII, who was just the second Tudor king, crowned. In 1509 Henry VII died of tuberculosis and his son became King Henry VIII. He was only 17. He received little training for his future role as a king, and would rely heavily on his counselors in early years of his reign.

Although most people today think of Henry VIII as a fat tyrant, but history remembers Henry in much the same way as Piero Pasqualigo, a Venetian ambassador: “…he is in every respect a most accomplished prince.”

Henry’s interest in foreign policy was focused on Western Europe which was a shifting pattern of alliances centered round the kings of Spain, France and the Holy roman Emperor. (Henry was related by marriage to all three: his wife Catherine was Ferdinand of Aragon’s daughter, his sister Mary married King Louis XII of France in 1514 and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V was Catherine’s nephew).

Henry VIII built the first modern navy and increased its size from 5 to 53 ships (including the “MARY ROSE” remains of which lie in the Portsmouth Naval Museum).

The second half of Henry’s reign was dominated by two very important issues for the later history of England and the monarchy: the succession and the Protestant Reformation, which led to the formation of the Church of England.

But today King Henry VIII is remembered for just one thing – well, six things. Six wives, to be exact! The one thing Henry VIII was not good at… was having sons. He married six different women to try and produce a male heir to the throne, but his only son from these marriages died when he was just 14 years old. However, his two daughters both became queens of England. So if he had only lived long enough, he might not have been so worried!

Henry VIII’s wives were as follows:

CATHERINE of ARAGON (1485-1536)

CATHERINE of ARAGON (1485-1536)

Born: 1485 at Alcala de Henares, Madrid, Spain

Queen of England

Died: 7th January 1536 at Kimbolton Castle, Huntingdonshire

Catherine of Aragon, the first Queen of Henry VIII, was the youngest child of King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile& Leon. She had an excellent and learned education and was married in 1501 to Arthur, eldest son of Henry VII, but she never lived with him as his wife. The Prince died in the following April at the age of 16 and Catherine was betrothed in 1503 to his brother Henry.

She had long red-gold hair and blue eyes, and in her youth was considered pretty. Catherine was five years older and much more sedate than Henry. She was interested in politics and the King often turned to her for advice. In 1513 she ruled as regent while Henry was campaigning in France. It may surprise you to learn that Henry VIII was married to his wife for over 20 years and for a long time they were happy together. Although Catherine was pregnant many times, only one of her children, Princess Mary, survived from their union. Later Mary become Queen of England before her half-sister Elizabeth.

However Catherine had no sons so Henry divorced her to marry Anne Boleyn, a woman he had fallen in love with.

ANNE BOLEYN (1502-1536)

ANNE BOLEYN (1502-1536)

Born: 1502 at Blicking Hall, Norfolk

Queen of England

Died: 19th May 1536 at Tower Green, London

Anne Boleyn, the second Queen of Henry VIII, was the daughter of an English diplomat Sir Thomas Boleyn, afterwards Earl of Wiltshire, and Lady Elizabeth Howard. Anne was thus the maternal niece of Henry’s countierstatesman, the Duke of Norfolk. She spent some years at the French Court, before 1522, when she first seems to have attracted the notice of King Henry. Her elder sister, Mary, was for a short time, the King’s mistress at about that date. Anne was sought in marriage by the heir of the Percys and was perhaps privately contracted to him. By 1525, however, the King was secretly courting her. In 1526 Henry began to pursue Anne openly. But she refused to become his mistress, saying “I would rather lose my life than my honesty.”

Bewitched by Anne’s sparkling black eyes, long dark hair and vivacious personality, the King began scheming to end his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. He claimed that it had never really been a marriage because she had been his brother’s wife. Catherine insisted that her first marriage didn’t count because it hadn’t been consummated, and church authorities agreed. For years Henry struggled unsuccessfully to have his marriage annulled. In the end, determined to have his way, he broke free of the Catholic Church, established the Church of England, banished Catherine from court, had his first marriage declared invalid and married Anne Boleyn on 25th January 1533. In September 1533 she gave birth to her only surviving child, Princess Elizabeth.

The years of waiting had been hard on Anne. She was in her thirties, moody and sharp. Henry was already tired of her. Anne became hysterical after finding one of her maids of honor, Jane Seymour, sitting on the King’s knee. That period of time Anne was pregnant again. If she gave birth to a healthy son her position as queen be secure, but she had a miscarriage. The baby was lost and she was doomed.

The Spanish ambassador wrote:”She has miscarried of her savior.”

Anne Boleyn was arrested and charged with having affairs with five men, including her own brother, George. The charges were false, but Anne and all of the men were convicted and sentenced to death. She was beheaded on Tower Hill on 19th May 1536.

On 30th May 1536 King Henry VIII married his third wife.

JANE SEYMOUR (1505-1537)

JANE SEYMOUR (1505-1537)

Born: 1505 at Wolf Hall, Savernake, Wilts

Queen of England

Died: 24th October at Hampton Court Palace, Richmond, Surrey

Jane Seymour, the third Queen of Henry VIII, was the daughter of Sir Seymour of Wolf Hall and his wife, Margaret Wentworth. We find her as a maid of honor in the household of Queen Catherine and again in that of Queen Anne. It was not till 1535 that King Henry VIII began to pay her serious attention.

He married her immediately after Anne’s death, in May 1536, and their only child, afterwards Edward VI, was born in October 1537. The Queen died from cold and improper diet twelve days after her delivery. For her alone of his Queens, Henry wore mourning. She seems to have been a gentle creature of good character and a popular Queen. She was interred at St.George’s Chapel, Windsor, and Henry afterwards buried at her side.

ANNE of CLEVES (1515-1557)

ANNE of CLEVES (1515-1557)

Born: 22nd September 1515 at Dusseldorf, Germany

Queen of England

Died: 17th July 1557 at Cheisea, Middlesex

Lady Anne of Cleves, the fourth Queen of Henry VIII, was the daughter of John, the Duke of Cleves, and Mary, Duchess of Julish. Cleves was a dukedom in modern day Germany and was the sister of its ruler, Duke William. Marriage to her was good politics. The royal women of Europe were undestandably reluctant to marry him.

After Jane Seymour’s death King Henry VIII was extremely unhappy. But an artist brought him back a portrait of Anne Cleves and Henry approved of it. Thus Anne arrived in England in December 1539. When she arrived the King was eager to see her that he raced to where she was staying and burst in upon her unannounced. He was shocked at her plainness and the impossibility of conversing with her. Anne didn’t speak English, didn’t know who this fat strange was, so she more or less ignored Henry.

She was, in fact, a dull, domestic German lady.

They were, however, married by Archbishop Cranmer at Grenwich in February 1540. They never lived together as man and wife and the passive Anne was apparently well pleased when a vote of Convocation divorced them in the following July. She received a large jointure, which she continued to enjoy until her death. She visited Henry at Hampton Court on at least one subsequent occasion, but most of her time was passed at Hever Castle in Kent. She figured in Royal state at the coronation of her step-daughter, Queen Mary. Anne remained in England and never remarried. Henry called her his sister. She outlived Henry and was certainly the most fortune of his wives.

Anne of Cleves was buried in Westminster Abbey in 1557.

Less than twenty days after his marriage to Anne of Cleves ended, Henry married his fifth wife…



Born: 1520 at Lambeth, Surrey

Queen of England

Died: 13th February 1542 at Tower Green, London

Catherine Howard, a cousin of Anne Boleyn, was the daughter of Lord Edmund and Joyce Culpepper. Her mother died when she was a little girl and Catherine was brought up to her grandmother, the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk, in whose household, at Horsham (Norfolk) and then Lambeth (Surrey), she was carelessly looked after. In 1540 she was brought to Court, perhaps with the intention of captivating Henry. She was lively, pretty and kind. The King saw her as perfect and unspoiled, “a rose without a thorn”. She was secretly married to the King in July of that year.

But Catherine had secrets. Several years earlier she’d had an affair with a man named Francis Dereham and promised to marry him. This alone made her ineligible to marry the King. She had also been involved with another man, Thomas Culpepper, and as queen she resumed her relationship with him. In time, of course, her infidelity was discovered and she was arrested. Henry was utterly taken aback when he discovered evidence of the immorality of his wife’s past life. In December of 1541 Dereham and Culpepper were executed. Catherine Howard was beheaded in February 1542.

Henry VIII was horrified and heartbroken, but he had not given up on matrimony. The following year he married his sixth and final wife.

CATHERINE PARR (1512-1548)

CATHERINE PARR (1512-1548)

Born: 1512 at Kendal Castle, Westmorland Lady Latimer

Queen of England

Died: 5th September 1548 at Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe, Gloucestershire

Catherine Parr, the sixth and last Queen of Henry VIII, was the daughter of Sit Thomas Parr and Maud Green. Her father was Controller of the Household of King Henry at the beginning of his reign. Catherine and her brother, William, received an excellent education and she became one of the most learned ladies of the age. She was twice married before her Royal wedding: the first time to Sir Edward Borough, who died in 1529, and the second time to Jone Neville, Lord Latimer, who died in 1543. Being sought in the third marriage by Sir Thomas Seymour, the brother of the late Queen Jane, she was about to accept his hand when King Henry VIII intervened and married her himself in July 1543.

Henry was old and ill now, but he loved Catherine Parr in his own way. Legend had it that she was as much a nurse to him as a wife. She was good to his children and helped him to reconcile with Catherine Aragon’s daughter Mary.

Henry VIII died on January 28,1547. Within months Catherine had married her old love, Thomas Seymour. But Seymour soon betrayed her by trying to seduce her stepdaughter, Henry’s daughter Princess Elizabeth.

Catherine Parr died in childbirth at Sudeley Castle, in Gloucestershire in 1548.



I. Look at the family tree of the Tudors(1485-1603). Write information about the British Royal family.

1. King Henry VII / Prince Henry VIII.

King Henry VII was Prince Henry VIII’s father. Prince Henry VIII, the second monarch of their dynasty, became king when he was 17.

2. Queen Elizabeth of York / King Henry VII.



3. Arthur, Prince of Wales / Henry VIII.



4. Mary I and Elizabeth I / King Henry VIII.



5. Prince Edward VI / King Henry VIII and Queen Jane Seymour.



II. Read the information about King Henry VIII. Put his wives in chronical order in which they were his wives. The following rhyme may help you:

“Divorced, beheaded, died,

Divorced, beheaded, survived.”

1._______________________________ 4._______________________________________

2._______________________________ 5._______________________________________

3._______________________________ 6._______________________________________

III. Prisoners at the Tower. Only seven people were executed on Tower Green: William, Lord Hastings (1483), Queen Anne Boleyn (1536), Margaret Countess of Salibery (1541), Queen Catherine Howard (1542), Jane, Viscountess Rochford (1542), Lady Jane Grey (1554) and Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex (1601). Which of the prisoners were King Henry VIII’s wives?

1.________________________________ 2.______________________________________

IV. Complete the table with the information required.

1. Any three things Henry VIII was good at: a)_______________



2. The names of Henry’s children in order of birth: a)_______________



3. The names of Henry’s children in order that they were king or queen: a)_______________



4. The name of King Henry VIII’s wife he wore a mourning:  

V. Fill in the gaps the following words and phrases:

princess died in childbirth ambassador
male heir reign athletic t

1. A period of time when king or queen rules a country is called_________________________.

2. A boy who will become king after the present king dies is called ______________________.

3. A female member of a royal family who is not a queen is called________________________.

4. ______________________ is a senior official who lives in a foreign country and represents his or her own country there.

5. When someone is good at physical sports we often call them__________________________.

6. When a woman dies at the same time as her baby is born people say “_she_______________”.







  1. а) music
    b) foreign languages
    c) horse riding
  2. a) MARY
    c) EDWARD
  3. a) EDWARD
    b) MARY
    1. reign
    2. male heir
    3. princess
    4. ambassador
    5. athletic
    6. died in childbirth.